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Paulding Gymnastics continues growth, training
by E. Marcel Pourtout
mpourtout@neighbornewspapers.com
June 18, 2014 11:40 AM | 686 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Samantha M. Shal<br>Paulding Gymnastics owner Charlie Johnson spots Emily Twilley, 9, as she works on the balance beam during practice last week.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal
Paulding Gymnastics owner Charlie Johnson spots Emily Twilley, 9, as she works on the balance beam during practice last week.
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Since its opening in August 2002 and under the guidance of founder Charlie Johnson, Paulding Gymnastics has expanded from having 300 students during its first two years to an increased enrollment of more than 1,000, including classes in cheerleading and tumbling along with traditional gymnastics.

“When I started the gym, Paulding County didn’t have a place for local gymnasts,” Johnson said.

The Douglasville native graduated from Douglas County High School and earned a degree in education from the University of West Georgia before opening the gym.

It was located in Hiram during its first two years of existence before moving to its current home off U.S. 278 in Dallas. The centralized location within Paulding County along with the start of the summer has increased the activities of the gym.

“Right now, we’re offering an all-day camp from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” Johnson said. “The campers participate in gymnastics, karate, field trips, arts and crafts along with watching educational videos.”

Children as young as 2 years old can take classes with their parents and it helps improve the child’s dexterity, motor skills and overall balance and coordination, he said.

The athletes are then trained in groups based on age until 10 years old when gymnasts may than pursue a competitive path.

One of the most successful gymnasts to emerge at the gym has been South Paulding High School junior Erynne Allen, who has reached the highest distinction in USA Gymnastics, Level 10, and has won numerous state and regional competitions. She will attempt to become the first gymnast to compete at the collegiate level after spending her entire career at the gym.

“The success of the program has been through the professionalism we offer here,” Johnson said. “We have six full-time coaches devoted to putting time into the gymnast. That’s what makes kids want to come back.”

The future of the gym goes beyond the county limits.

“We want to have some national champions and even international gymnasts,” Johnson said. “We’re going to push for it.”

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