Gymnasts Mentor Students Gem State Brings Acro-gymnastics to Elementary Kids

A collective gasp went up as Cami Aberle, a Gem State Adventist Academy junior, was tossed high in the sky while doing a flip. Students at Boise Valley Adventist School were witnessing acrobatics combined with gymnastics in a series of routines of pairs and groups, combining their skills to create a very impressive display.

Becky Bonson, a junior gymnast, said, “It takes a lot of team work to get a good show put together, but in the end it’s a lot of fun. We love to work with the kids.”

The team spent two days doing clinics and performances for schools from Payette to Boise. “An amazing amount of camaraderie exists between the students as they work hard to learn tough moves like round off back hand springs and forward flips," said Mike Schwartz, Gem State principal.

After a performance, elementary students get time to work with gymnasts to learn simple gymnastic feats. “Our kids love this part of it," says Judy Shaner, Caldwell Adventist School principal. “The Gem State gymnastics team provides positive role models and mentoring for our kids, and I think that’s important. The students love to have them come and perform for us. They look forward to it every year.”

Casey Michel, a sophomore gymnast who has been on the team for two years, says, “We have a good-sized team this year, and as we travel and work together, we get really close. It’s completely different from anything else most kids get to do. It has an identity all of its own.”

Gymnasts are looking forward to a five-day tour coming up where they will perform for schools in Winnemucca, Reno and Fallon, Nev. For more information on Gem State gymnastics, go to

May 01, 2005 / Idaho Conference