Raising the bar at Truckee Gymnastics
TRUCKEE, Calif. andamp;#8212; Katy Perry’s popular and upbeat andamp;#8220;California Girlsandamp;#8221; blasts through the surround sound speakers as a group of aspiring young gymnasts are led in warm-ups. Encircling the class are a colorful array of mats and spring carpeting, a 40-foot TumblTrak trampoline, a high beam, uneven bars, an in-ground trampoline, a climbing rope and gymnastics rings. The girls complete their stretching and excitedly disperse around the room to begin their training.Located on Deerfield Drive in Truckee, what was formerly an auto body bay has now profoundly transformed into a state-of-the-art, year-round gymnastics center with an array of classes for youth and teens.andamp;#8220;What’s great about gymnastics is that it gives kids a foundation for their core strength and provides a full-body workout unlike any other sport, so it gives people a base for the other sports they do and it helps them excel all around,andamp;#8221; said Laura Bronstone, owner of Truckee Gymnastics. andamp;#8220;It also builds great confidence andamp;#8212; kids accomplish so much here and it’s amazing to see the progression.andamp;#8221;Bronstone certainly has the lean body of a gymnast and it’s hard to tell she’s given birth to two children. However, she is by no means a lifelong gymnastics guru, and ironically, if she hadn’t had her son, there may never be a gymnastics studio in Truckee.After receiving her bachelor’s degree in accounting and computer science, Bronstone started teaching aerobics classes in her home-state of Michigan where she met her husband, Howard, who began attending her classes. andamp;#8220;He kept taking my class for a year, but the man would not talk to me,andamp;#8221; the petit and energetic Bronstone said, laughing. andamp;#8220;After a year, he finally came up and said hello andamp;#8230; and we started dating and we were engaged three years later.andamp;#8221;Following the wedding, Bronstone and her right-hand-man moved to Los Angeles for his career where Bronstone pursued her own advertising company. After a few years, the couple agreed quality of life far surpassed the value of the decent paycheck, so they began reassessing their options. With Bronstone’s mobile advertising business booming, Howard made the decision to leave his job and join forces with his wife, enabling them to escape the busy, metropolitan city.Howard wanted mountains and a ski community, and Bronstone’s prerequisites included seasonality and a small-town. The couple looked no further than Truckee where they rented a house for a year before settling down.The Bronstones’ new life in Truckee was overflowing with positivity. The advertising company continued to excel under the husband-and-wife leadership, their first child andamp;#8212; daughter Grace andamp;#8212; was born a few years after relocating to the mountain town, and Bronstone felt overly content with the close-knit community. She and Grace would attend Mommy and Me classes weekly and were loyal listeners at the local library’s reading hour.andamp;#8220;Grace could sit perfectly still on my lap for story time and she was so easy-going andamp;#8212; she was great,andamp;#8221; Bronstone said, recalling her early days of motherhood. With one toddler in tow, Bronstone gave birth to her second child, son Aaron, and almost immediately noticed a striking difference between her two children. andamp;#8220;My son could not sit still andamp;#8212; he wouldn’t listen to music, he couldn’t care less about story time and he was so physical, he wanted to climb on everything,andamp;#8221; said Bronstone, tossing her hands wildly into the air. andamp;#8220;Suddenly I couldn’t do any of the things in Truckee that I loved to do with my daughter and I had this wild kid on my hands and thought andamp;#8216;what am I going to do with him?’andamp;#8221;Truckee’s KidZone was nearly open, but the staple rule did not allow running, so Bronstone contemplated ways to relieve her son’s vigorous energy.andamp;#8220;I needed to create a place where kids could run and jump and where they weren’t being kept from being physical,andamp;#8221; Bronstone said.Bronstone consulted with her business-savvy husband, who encouraged her to open My Playground andamp;#8212; a once-a-week class for toddlers and their parents where kids could run around, climb on mats, jump on soft surfaces and behave like the energetic humans they are.Bronstone rented a room out of a dance studio, which she transformed every Monday morning into a bouncy, indoor playground. She hired a consultant to help with curriculum planning to ensure everything was executed with proficiency. As classes developed, Bronstone took on a team of helpers, including a former gymnast who eventually incorporated gymnastics into the youth and teen sessions.The effort helped curtail some of her own son’s stamina, but the kids kept getting older, classes were growing, and Bronstone knew she needed to expand operations. andamp;#8220;I felt like a kid on Christmas when we were first presented with the opportunity to take over this space,andamp;#8221; Bronstone said of the current facility.Howard had already transformed the couple’s advertising company into his own derivative, refocusing efforts on the technology and computer world, while Bronstone targeted all of her efforts on My Playground.In July 2011, the couple unveiled Truckee Gymnastics, providing the community with a large-scale, cutting-edge facility with an enhanced class schedule, summer camps, open gym and a highly-qualified team of gymnastics coaches.What started as a way to relieve some of her son’s abundance of energy has now transformed into an endeavor to help the entire Truckee community by creating an indoor, year-round space for all ages. Over the past year, Truckee Gymnastics has opened its doors to beginners, young gymnast enthusiasts, the nonprofit sector, the underprivileged community and parents looking to spend more time with their children.Multiple summer camps will be available in the coming months, and by fall, Bronstone hopes to take the gymnastics element to the next level by incorporating competition-based classes where more serious gymnasts can train for meets.
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