Caroline Thompson, freshman accounting and management major from Houston, started her very own business here in Abilene utilizing what she grew up around: gymnastics.
Thompson Tumblers is a noncompetitive gymnastics program that teaches developmentally appropriate gymnastics and gross motor skills to children ages three to six years old.
Being a freshman in a different town limits most students’ ability to get a job that works around their school schedule. Caroline Thompson grew up in gymnastics class, but the real reason for bringing this business to Abilene is simple.
“I need to make some money. I’m a college student,” Thompson said.
Thompson Tumblers is a family business that Caroline’s dad runs back in Houston.Â Her dad was a competitive gymnast for Houston Baptist and University of Arizona and was once ranked third in the nation. In 1984, just before the Olympic trial, he suffered a career ending shoulder injury. That year the men’s team received a gold medal in gymnastics. Naturally, it then became the sport of choice and Caroline’s dad went into coaching. He coached competitively and judged collegiately for several years, but he soon learned that being a father and competitive coach did not add up.
Thompson Tumblers seemed to be the best solution. Caroline and her sisters grew up with the business, first as they attended classes themselves, then as assistant coaches for their dad. The girls even directed their own smaller programs.
“Coaching gymnastics here in Abilene just seemed like the natural thing for me to do,” Thompson said.
Caroline’s first program in Abilene was at Pioneer Drive Childcare Development Center. Along with her two assistant coaches, Whitney Pell and Allison Lamberth, these girls taught eight to twelve students at a time in 30-minute classes.
The program started off with a warm-up that always had a fun educational theme, then the children were spilt into two smaller groups to work in stations. The girls bring in a lot of equipment that was scaled down in size for young children and taught basic tumbling, beam, bar and vaulting skills, as well as basic gross motor skills.
The current program Caroline is working on is a short four-week session and next semester she plans to add full semester sessions, a location and also offer more classes at Pioneer Drive.
“All of these activities help the children develop in many different areas,” Thompson said. “Overall fitness is obvious, but non-competitive gymnastics also improves overall coordination and flexibility; and it is wonderful for building self-confidence.”