MAHWAH, N.J. – After 15 years of leading area gymnastics programs part time, Debby Bassin of Mahwah is ready to open her own Flipper’s Gymnastics facility.
Now that the Clarkstown native's children are older — Josh is 12, Audra is 10 — she has the time.
There’s a lot to opening such a business. Bassin has identified a 13,000-square-foot facility off Franklin Turnpike in the township.
But then there are the matters of getting insurance, hiring two teachers to back her up, creating class plans, dealing with apparatus vendors, buying mats. According to Bassin’s calculations, she needs $80,000 to open her doors.
So she’s started a crowdsourcing campaign to raise the money. The deadline for raising all of it is July 3.
“I need to make that goal of $80,000 by July 3rd to get any of the money,” she said.
Once the financial backing is set, she’s ready to leap, figuratively and otherwise, into the enterprise.
Flipper’s Gymnastics is driven by a countercultural philosophy: all students, from children to adults, should learn the skills of gymnastics in progression. The idea is not to rush the process in order to compete.
“If you do gymnastics at a competitive level and push too hard, you overstress your body,” she said. “If you do the right amount of exercise for your body, you can continue for a much longer period of time.”
Bassin knows of what she speaks. At 42, she can tumble better than she did as an eighth-grader on the Clarkstown High School varsity gymnastics team.
Plus, Bassin has friends in their sixties who are still active gymnasts.
Her dream is to offer beginning, intermediate, and advanced classes for all age groups, especially her favorite one — children.
The whole Bassin household is athletic. Both Bassin’s children do gymnasts. Her husband, Barry, is a trail runner, rock climber, and former fencer.
If a child wants to learn to do a back handspring, Bassin first wants her to master a back bend and back walkover.
As for adult beginners, Bassin first takes them through a lot of basic calisthenics, ab exercises, neck exercises, wrist exercises.
“That’s all to strengthen parts of the body we don’t use on a regular basis,” she explained. “That way, when they start to get into the gymnastics skills, they don’t injure themselves.”