Flathead Gymnastics Academy was originally established in the Flathead Valley in the late 1980’s. Keeley Lowney acquired ownership of the gym in August 2011, and was joined by her husband, David Tighe, in May 2016. The gym has developed and grown under the leadership of Co-Owners and Head Coaches David and Keeley Tighe since 2011, and continues to grow through their shared vision of providing quality gymnastics to the Flathead Valley.
FGA has experienced significant growth in program participation among community families under the leadership of David and Keeley Tighe. Enrollment in FGA’s programs has tripled - growing from 125 children in 2011 to an average of 375 children. As interest and involvement among community families has grown, FGA has expanded and further developed our program offerings to better support different developmental ages, skill levels, and progression within the sport.
FGA offers recreational classes for traditional Gymnastics as well as Extreme Ninja Gymnastics classes all under the umbrella of our Developmental Gymnastics Programs. Within the traditional gymnastics program, FGA has created different age groupings for the Beginner classes to better serve students at different developmental levels. FGA also developed an Advanced class for gymnasts whose skills have progressed beyond the Intermediate class level. Under owners David and Keeley Tighe, the Aerial Silks and Extreme Ninja Gymnastics programs were developed as program offerings to the community. The Extreme Ninja Gymnastics class has further grown to be offered 6 days per week, including the addition of Extreme Ninja Intermediate and Extreme Ninja Advanced classes to better serve different skill levels and advancement within the sport. In addition to classes after school hours, FGA offers gymnastics classes during the day for younger children and Homeschool families through our Teeny Tumblers and Hot Shots classes as well as our Homeschool Gymnastics programs, including both traditional Developmental Gymnastics and Extreme Ninja Gymnastics classes. In 2020, FGA started offering adult classes for the first time, including Gymnastics, Cardio Pump, and Zumba.
As recreational class offerings have grown throughout the years, so have FGA’s Open Gym programs which serve an average of 100 students each week. FGA offers Open Gym for ages 5-18, Extreme Ninja Gymnastics Open Gym for ages 13-23, and Tot Open Play for ages 1-5. The age groupings of FGA’s different open gym offerings facilitate a welcoming and safe environment for individuals at different developmental levels. FGA’s open gyms have further developed to include educational class instruction at the beginning of each open gym. After warm-up and gymnastics instruction, participants can freely practice and play under the supervision and support of trained coaching staff.
Alongside FGA’s recreational classes and open gym programs, FGA’s Competitive Team program has also grown in size and scope. In addition to the Junior Olympic competitive gymnastics program, FGA started an Xcel competitive gymnastics program in 2018. The Excel Program allows individual flexibility to gymnasts and coaches, while still offering a meaningful training and competition experience for gymnasts. The number of athletes participating in FGA’s competitive team program has grown from 23 gymnasts in 2011 to an average of 50-60 gymnasts each season. Within the team program, the number of gymnasts training and competing at the highest levels within USAG Junior Olympic standards has also grown - from 4 Optional gymnasts in 2011 to an average of 15-25 Optional Gymnasts each year. Gymnasts on the competitive team program commit to a 12-month training and competition season spanning from April through March. Team gymnasts travel to compete throughout Montana and to out-of-state meets from January through March each year. FGA also hosts the annual Glacier Challenge Gymnastics Meet locally in Kalispell every January.
FGA’s growth in enrollment, community participation, and program offerings has been accompanied and supported by a new facility, advances in equipment, and continued education and staff training to provide quality gymnastics throughout the growth process. In 2012, FGA’s first gym was remodeled and expanded in size, providing more training space for gymnasts as well as building a front desk, gym offices, and viewing bleachers for parents. In 2020, FGA purchased and remodeled our new gym home at 1380 US HWY 2 W in Kalispell. FGA’s new facility is three times larger than our former facility, with a total square footage of 22,000 ft2. Within the new facility, the movement and training space available for gymnasts has tripled, from 6,000 ft2 at the former gym to 18,000 ft2 at FGA’s new gym. This has provided the opportunity to create separate gym spaces for Developmental Gymnastics, Preschool Gymnastics, and Competitive Team Gymnastics. Each gym space has been uniquely designed with the ideal equipment and spatial layout to create the optimal teaching and training environment for each program. FGA’s new gym also has greatly expanded viewing areas for parents, bathrooms, parking spaces, and office space to better accommodate FGA families and future growth within the gym.
In addition to investing in a new facility, FGA is continually investing in new equipment to provide a safe and progressive training environment. Tighe Gym Sales supplies FGA with top-of-the-line American Athletic Incorporated (AAI) equipment. AAI is a frequent supplier of equipment for World Championship and Olympic events. Equipment in FGA’s new facility includes 6 rectangular trampolines, 2 spring floors, 2 40-foot tumbl traks, a mini tumbl trak, preschool bars, 5 recreational elite kid bars, several sets of uneven bars, a variety of beams, vaulting runways, a spotting rig system, resi pit systems, a canyon block system, landing mats, 5 silks, and ninja obstacle course equipment, among other equipment and training tools. FGA is committed to providing top-of-the-line equipment in quality and safety standards to support both competitive and recreational gymnasts in the gym.
In addition to providing an optimal training and learning environment through the new facility and top-of-the-line equipment, FGA is committed to continual staff education and training to better serve our youth. FGA highly values ongoing education and training opportunities to further develop staff knowledge and stay up-to-date with developments in the field of gymnastics. Coaches participate in weekly staff training to continue to learn, grow, and advance in gymnastics knowledge and coaching techniques. In addition to weekly training, lead staff attend educational clinics and training conferences throughout the year including Regional Congresses, Montana State Clinics, High Tech Clinics, and Bar Boot Camps. These clinics provide great learning opportunities where industry leaders share their knowledge in providing top-level, quality gymnastics to every level and age of gymnast.
FGA has also brought outside expertise into the gym by hosting clinics for team gymnasts in Kalispell. FGA gymnasts and coaches have greatly benefited from leaders in the field of gymnastics teaching clinics at FGA. Clinicians include: three-time Olympian and top Venezuelan Gymnast Jessica Lopez and her coach Nilson Madeiros-Savage (2012); Jim and Nancy Tighe from Gem State Gymnastics in Boise, Idaho (2014); Mark Kindelspire from Palouse Empire Gymnastics in Moscow, Idaho (2015); and National Team Coaches and Boise State University gymnastics coaches, Neil and Patty Resnick (2016 and 2019).
As Flathead Gymnastics Academy continues to grow, develop, and evolve each year to better serve community families, owners David and Keeley Tighe continue to focus on providing quality gymnastics to the Flathead Valley through their shared vision and love for the sport of gymnastics. FGA’s mission statement encompasses their vision and heart for the gym:
“At Flathead Gymnastics Academy our staff is dedicated to helping each student discover and realize their potential as they learn to jump, flip, fly, and play in a welcoming, safe environment. Our goal is to create a culture of love and appreciation of movement, discipline, strength, grit, and a growth mindset, resulting in the development of strong character and positive self-esteem within each athlete. It is a great joy to be a part of the cultivation of lifelong learners through the incredible sport of gymnastics! ~Flathead Gymnastics Academy~ Redefining fun through an exciting learning experience.”