All American Gymnastics Academy moved into its new $2.2 million facility on South Cliff Avenue this week, providing a new space with a new mission.
“The facility we were at, we’d outgrown that probably in the last two or three years, so we needed to make a decision if we needed to add on there, try to expand there or if we could make the big jump and really invest in something big and new in this community,” Owner Kathy Luke said.
“This facility is a lot bigger, which is great, more room for more equipment and for more girls,” gymnast Marissa Jencks said.
It’s a big investment that dedicated athletes like Jencks say will help bring their training to the next level.
“I train 25 hours a week, four to six hours a day, depending on the day,” Jencks said.
In addition to the serious work going on at the competitive gym at All American Gymnastics Academy, there’s also plenty of play happening over on the recreational side of the building with a preschool program, ninja academy, parkour, tumbling and cheer, and trampoline and tumbling program now certified by USA Gymnastics.
“We have 1,100 kids and families that come here every single week,” Luke said. “With the growth in Sioux Falls, we’ve continued to see our numbers continue to grow, year after year.”
This new 40,000 square foot facility provides some much needed additional space, while also allowing owner Luke to grow her other big passion, the Yaks Give Back Foundation. It’s a non-profit designed to provide scholarships, services and employment opportunities to people with intellectual and developmental differences.
“We are opening a sensory gym, for people of all abilities,” Luke said. “It’s an all abilities play center, for people of all abilities to play and interact and help create acceptance and inclusion.”
The sensory gym hopes to open on the second floor of the facility by April, but another unique feature will open downstairs in two weeks.
“We can offer more opportunities for kids of all abilities so we created a coffee shop housed inside here that’s open to the community. It will give people with all abilities, with intellectual and developmental differences, job employment with a coffee shop of their own to run,” Luke said.
The Yackity Yack Coffee Shop is partnering with Coffea to create a brewing system that’s easy to operate. The coffee shop will brew Coffea coffee with just one or two typically developed management staff who will help manage a much larger staff.
“The coffee shop will be primarily run by people with intellectual and development differences,” Luke said.
Luke says this group often struggles to find employment and she hopes her non-profit will help create roughly 25 new jobs and a place where everyone feels accepted.
The Yackity Yack Coffee shop will serve specialty coffees, snacks, ice cream and lunch or dinner items. Its also packed full of board games for everyone in the community to come and gather.
Luke wants everyone to know you don’t have to be involved in gymnastics to enjoy the coffee shop and help support the Yaks Give Back foundation; its designed as a space for everyone in the community to gather and enjoy.