High Flyers Educational Gymnastics Center moves into 20,000 sq. ft. facility, changes its name to High Flyers Sports Arena. Classes start Nov. 2, with the public Grand Opening Sunday, Nov. 22
If there’s one thing that High Flyers Gymnastics Center has stood for over the past 28 years, it’s growth — teaching students from preschool through high school to believe in themselves and grow as athletes and individuals.
Owners Nancy and Wyatt Gregory have taken their own advice. Recently, they’ve grown from strictly gymnastics into a full fledged sports center that includes a designated preschool area, cheer practice floor, 4,000 sq. ft. multi-use turf area for batting and soccer practice, and facilities for parties and other special events.
In terms of distance, the move from their previous home just off Grand River Avenue in Brighton to the former Kicks and Sticks facility at 960 Victory Drive in Howell is a mere 4 miles. But moving tons of gym equipment and constructing new areas—like the 6’ deep tumbling pit filled with thousands of foam cubes— was a Herculean effort. After hundreds of hours spent digging, painting, laying a turf carpet and setting up equipment, the owners have the gym ready to open for fall classes starting Monday, November 2.
The real transformation goes far beyond what’s inside the 20,000 sq. ft. facility, Nancy Gregory points out. “We’ve always attracted young people who had an interest in gymnastics and athletics,” she says. “But today, like never before, there’s a need to get children involved in sports activities that help them understand how important fitness is to a healthy life.”
Prying kids away from video games and cell phones takes a new concept in youth fitness, something the Gregorys express in just three words: “Yes you can.”
Co-owner Wyatt Gregory grew up and trained at High Flyers, was part of the state champion Hartland High School Men’s Team and also part of Western Michigan National Independence Championship gymnastics team. Twice named Michigan High School assistant coach of the year, Wyatt says he’s ready to make believers out of even the most sedentary kids. “Our programs might be the first time kids have really challenged their bodies. They’re amazed to see what they can do.”
Chris Chanavier started his gymnastics career at High Flyers in second grade and went on to compete at the University of Iowa. Chris says he enrolls his son in gymnastic classes because “he builds physical skills he can use for any sport.”
Nancy Gregory and fellow teacher Nancy Hanes, two of the gym’s original founders more than 25 years ago, have seen thousands of kids realize their potential. High Flyers gymnasts consistently bring home medals in district, state and national competitions sanctioned by USA Gymnastics and the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), the two major national gymnastics organizations.
Just as students are asked to practice healthy habits, High Flyers works hard to provide a safe, clean, educational environment. “From our equipment to our instructors and lesson plans, safety is of utmost importance,” says Nancy, a nationally certified gymnastics coach. “We teach skills with the correct form and in the right sequence so students have the background and confidence to stretch themselves,” she says.
In addition, High Flyers has top-rated equipment, and all of its head instructors are safety certified and trained in CPR.
The growing interest in cheerleading competitions led the owners to create a separate cheer practice floor for individual classes and enough space for entire teams to practice their routines.
Program Director Tracie Richards is an alumni cheerleader from both Michigan State University and the University of Michigan, where she was a cheer coach for nine years, taking its team to College Cheer Nationals.
Knowing the importance of giving kids an early start in fitness—and the need for after-school programs offering more than school-related skills, High Flyers has created an innovative preschool program with its own area and right-sized equipment.
Parents are part of the picture, too, and can watch their children practice and compete in a large spectator area with a full view of the gym.
High Flyers’ teaching methods have been refined over decades. Separate classes for boys and girls are grouped by age and skill level, corresponding to USA Gymnastics competition, although competing is strictly optional.
Girls start in novice classes and can progress through junior competition to women’s varsity teams. High Flyers is proud to be home to the Varsity Girls Gymnastics Teams from both Howell High School and Brighton High School. Boys programs follow a similar progression from basic skills to men’s varsity teams. High Flyers has produced top gymnasts such as Evan Heiter, who recently shared the TV commentary stage with former Olympian Sam Peszek.
Classes run in 7-week sessions throughout the school year. The first fall session begins Nov. 2, but students can join any time for a prorated fee. A full class schedule and online registration is at www.HighFlyersGym.com. For questions about specific classes and services, contact the gym at 810.229.7740.
The public is invited to see High Flyers programs in action at the grand opening set for 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22.