FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) — The city of Florence offers young people in their community another outlet to get active and show off their creativity.
Just seven months ago, the Freedom Florence Gymnastics Center was nearly vacant.
“I had learned that the program had been closed for a while due to COVID,” Tatum Buchanan said.
Buchanan has been involved in gymnastics most of her life. Former gymnasts she coached approached her about a job in Florence which she originally thought was a coaching job, but turned out to be a coordinator. The city of Florence was looking to bring gymnastics back to the region.
“Once I arrived, we made a game plan and reopened the program,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan took on a long list of responsibilities working with the city, setting class schedules, creating a curriculum, designing new leotards and recruiting new gymnasts. The program now has approximately 200 recreational gymnasts and 14 gymnasts on its competitive team.
The Florence gymnastics team is playing its first match this Saturday in Florence against nearly 100 other teams. This will be the first time these girls have participated since the pandemic.
“It goes so much deeper than how to tumble or cross how to walk on a balance beam,” Buchanan said. “We were teaching them life lessons. We teach them to be good teammates, to be patient, to be kind.
Every day, Buchannan tells his coaches that the hour their students spend in their gym might be the best hour of their day. And that there are so many lessons to be learned from sport.
The Freedom Florence Gymnastics Center offers a variety of classes for children from 18 months to 18 years old. In addition to teaching gymnastics, they also focus on playground readiness, athletic readiness in other sports, and character development.
They also offer ninja lessons as they try to involve more boys in the sport.
Copyright 2022 WMBF. All rights reserved.