Douglasville Gymnastics and Cheerleading Club: Thirty years and a million handsprings Later.
Paige Etheridge has been deeply involved in gymnastics most of her life. She began teaching gymnastics at a local facility where she was enrolled as a student in 1982. Two years later, friend and coworker, Ivy Lee, started the county’s first preschool gymnastics program at Hunter Park. Encouraged by the success and demand for that program, Etheridge started one at Deer Lick Park in 1986. The next year, Etheridge and Lee merged the two programs, added classes for all ages, and became Douglasville Gymnastics. Just a year later, they changed the name to Douglasville Gymnastics and Cheerleading Club and moved into a leased facility on Highway 5.
In those early days of the business it was just the two of them on staff. They went from only offering preschool classes to school age classes and then a competitive gymnastics team. Cheerleading classes followed. Then tumbling. All-boys programs were added. Parent - Tot classes for children 18 months and older became part of the curriculum. In 2000, the county’s first All Star Competitive Cheerleading Team was added. As classes were added, the staff grew. From the original staff of two, there are now over 40 employees including 12 in full time gymnastics careers, most of whom were students at the school at one time. Lee sold her partnership to Etheridge in the late 90s, but has remained on staff and is the Preschool Director of the school.
The original classes totaled about 70 students. Douglasville Gymnastics now has over 1000 students. They serve students from throughout the county and beyond. Instead of just one level of gymnastics teams, they now have six. Instead of one All Star Cheer Team, they have six full year teams and another three half year teams. The growth in the popularity of the school led to the need for their own space. In 2001 they began construction of a new facility and moved into their new and current home on Bright Star Road in 2002.
Paige is nostalgic and proud of the last thirty years of Douglasville Gymnastics and Cheerleading Club. “Everyday we say that we should have written a book of memories. There are so many. Gymnastics Teams winning state championships, cheer teams winning national championships, the Spring Performances each and every year. All the great things kids say!” She continues, “Watching so many children grow up and now return with their own children. This lets me know that they loved it when they were a kid and now trust us to teach their children.”
She is especially proud that so many former students have returned to DGC to become employees, some working their way through college, some returning after college to a career in gymnastics and cheerleading. “They know we offer the community quality programs, that we strive to do our best with everything we do, that we excel, and that myself and the staff take great pride in our school and our students.”
“Our thirty years of success would not be at all possible without my very hard working, talented, and dedicated staff. They have played a major role in everything that has been accomplished here. I am also so thankful to the community and each and every customer for always supporting us and trusting us. This is also a major reason for the longevity of our business. Our best advertising is definitely our loyal customers spreading the word about our programs.”
DGC offers: The largest gymnastics training facility in the west Georgia area, Olympic style training equipment including:two full size spring floors, in ground and above ground tumble tracks, in ground trampoline, uneven and single bars, balance beams, vaulting table, and rings. Their classes include: preschool ( separate preschool training area and preschool sized equipment ) and recreational gymnastics, boys tumbling and strength training, beginning-advanced tumbling, and recreational cheerleading/tumbling. Private lessons are also an option. They also have several competitive team opportunities to choose from.
In addition to Etheridge and Lee, who have been there since the beginning, the staff includes several members with extensive experience: Ivy Lee has 30 years, Kristi Lunsford - 24, Brandy Wilbourn - 23, Patty Horak - 19, Erica Davis - 18, Allsion Cahill and Julie Hubbard - 15, Quentin Mobley - 13, Kelsie Graham and Pam Bearden - 9, Chris Wilson - 8, Kayla Cato, Carmen Gresham, Taylor Jones and Katie Smith all have 5 years. Instructors are USA Gymnastics Safety Certified and have additional USAG Instructional Certifications They are also CPR Certified, USASF Credentialed, and AACCA Certified.
To learn more about Douglasville Gymnastics and Cheerleading Club, visit their website at douglasvillegymnastics.com or on Facebook at Douglasville Gymnastics and Cheerleading Club, INC. They are located at 8877 Bright Star Road and their phone number is 770.489.2582.