Byline: Rachel Baruch Yackley
Kids' birthday parties can be a lot more exciting than pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey followed by cake and ice cream.
Energym Gymnastics Academy provides a birthday arena at the Westside Sports Center in St. Charles.
Run by the Northern Illinois Academy of Gymnastics, the Energym program consists of one hour with specially trained staff followed by 45 minutes to have cake and open presents.
Activities in the gym include group games, obstacle courses, gymnastics and use of a variety of equipment such as the trampoline. All staff members follow USA Gymnastics Safety Guidelines.
"We started doing these parties in January, and they have been going very well for us," said Jeff Greenwald, facility manager of Westside Sports Center, at 3N800 Peck Road.
"So far, we have been averaging 20 parties a month," he added. "Word of mouth through our gymnastics classes has been very helpful."
At a recent 5-year-old's party, staff members Anne LaFrancis and Jim Gonzales kept several children happily involved with freeze tag and other group games, jumping and climbing through the obstacle courses, and screaming with delight on the ever-popular trampoline. …