Ashlynn Villanueva, left, teaches Damiana Camacho how to land a cartwheel at Flippin’ Out gym Thursday in Killeen.

Leslie Surovik of Belton has spent more than 30 years practicing and teaching the sport of gymnastics. She is now putting her expertise to work at Flippin’ Out, the new child-oriented gym she opened in April in Killeen.

Surovik, director and head coach of Flippin’ Out, said a special woman in her life encouraged her active lifestyle.

“My mother was my coach when I was little, and I lost her at a young age,” she said. “That really motivated me to work with children.”

Surovik, who moved from South Dakota to Central Texas in 1989, watched her father struggle for years to make ends meet to care for her and her siblings.

“I come from a family of seven, so watching my dad struggle to try and work a job and keep control of the whole family was real hard,” she said. “When I got older, I wanted to make sure children — even if they are from a family of low income — were given the option of doing something that they love to do.”

Surovik taught gymnastics for a decade in Belton and owned another business before opening Flippin’ Out in April.

“It started off with the philosophy that every kid needs to have the option to come in and be touched by the sport of gymnastics, tumbling, cheerleading and dance,” she said.

The motivation and support she received from a good friend, Debbie Jarzynkowski, helped Surovik make Flippin’ Out a reality. Jarzynkowski now works as the gym’s front desk manager and helps maintain the gym’s biggest responsibility, which is safety.

“We make sure the kids are safe and that they are learning all the techniques they are supposed to do,” she said.

Flippin’ Out also offers adult fitness classes — such as Zumba, total body fitness and abdominal workouts — and hosts birthday parties.

“We want to take care of the entire family,” Surovik said.

But children are the main focus of Flippin’ Out classes, which cater to kids as young as 18 months old.

“I always feel that kids at that age have no fear level,” Surovik said. “We teach them cartwheels, handstands, forward rolls, body positions, jumps, squats, and then they move up from there and learn to be independent.”

The classes also teach children how to interact with one another.

“I love watching the kids come in, not knowing anything, and in a couple weeks they are fantastic and ready to move to the next class,” said Ashlynn Villanueva, gymnastics coach. “It’s a great place to be, it’s very family oriented and everyone just loves each other.”

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