Harford Gymnastics celebrates 40 years

Youngsters have been flipping, twisting, spinning, climbing and rolling for 40 years at Harford Gymnastics.

February marks the 40-year anniversary of the inception of Harford Gymnastics founded by the late Frank Yapps. Yapps started the program to share his passion of gymnastics to not only teach skills, but also to use the sport as a means of developing confidence and character.

Yapps was a full scholarship gymnast from Temple University who moved to Maryland to pursue a physical education teaching career at Dulaney High School.

At that time he also took over the gymnastics dynasty established at Dulaney by George McGinty, who went on to pioneer Towson State’s women’s gymnastics program.

In 1979 Yapps opened Harford Gymnastics at the Millstad Camp, which previously was known as the Fresh Air Camp on Whitaker Mill Rd. just south of Bel Air.

Yapps shared his expertise for 25 years there and impacted thousands of young lives through his coaching. He passed away in 2004, but his family and dedicated staff have continued to carry on his legacy.

Current director Teresa Yapps DiMauro, a scholarship gymnast from Towson State University, joined the staff of Harford Gymnastics in its inaugural year and has been committed ever since to her husband’s mission of providing top quality gymnastics instruction to children as they experience the fun and excitement of gymnastics while building strong bodies and strong character traits.

Gymnastics participation can develop a strong foundation by improving balance, coordination, flexibility, strength and concentration that will transfer to any sport a child chooses.

Goal setting, perseverance, determination, courage, leadership, teamwork, responsibility, pride and self-confidence are life skills that can be enhanced through gymnastics to provide a solid base for life. Over 40 part-time teachers and coaches instill the students of Harford Gymnastics with these important attributes that Yapps molded into his program from the start.

With 115 gymnasts on the competition team, Harford Gymnastics has achieved many state, regional and even national titles. Numerous athletes have gone on to compete in college on Division I & II scholarships and on III and club level teams. The team program is headed up by TC Walstrum, who has been an integral part of the staff since 1984.

From its humble beginnings with about 30 students at the onset, Harford Gymnastics has grown to offer a wide range of programs seven days a week. It now offers ample opportunities for children ages one and older to experience a sense of excitement and accomplishment.

From parent-tot movement classes through the competition team program, Harford Gymnastics challenges its students to set goals and reach new heights in many ways. One of Harford Gymnastics goals is to find a larger facility to incorporate more training stations for our gymnasts.

Action packed birthday parties and summer camps encourage students to develop a fitness mindset that carries over to their everyday life. “Fitness is fun” is Harford Gymnastics’ mantra.

Reach Randy McRoberts on twitter. @aegissports

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