Puyallup: News

Puyallup kids gym to host fundraiser event to benefit children with illnesses

Employees at The Little Gym in Puyallup, a children’s center that focuses on fostering physical activity and social interaction in children, want to reach out and help more than just their own members.

The Little Gym’s upcoming open house will serve as a fundraiser for SeriousFun Children’s Network, a global community of camps that support seriously ill children and provides them a place to have fun among other kids in similar situations.

“We thought it would be good to make a charitable contribution,” said Puyallup Little Gym owner Tom Watrous. “We liked their message.”

Like SeriousFun Children’s Network, having “serious fun” is an important value at The Little Gym, and the message is posted on the gym’s wall.

The Little Gym will also support Camp Korey, a camp belonging to SeriousFun Children’s Network. The camp is in the middle of moving to a new location in Mount Vernon to expand the capacity of campers it can hold.

The open house will feature Olympics-type Opening Ceremonies using the equipment inside of the gym, and is meant to reach out and support more local kids across diverse boundaries.

There will be music-based warmup activities and a singer to entertain the kids. Those who stop by can check out what the gym has to offer.

“It’s a chance for (people) to come and enjoy the gym,” Watrous said. “And it’s a chance for non-members to check out the gym, too.”

This is the second year that the open house has doubled as a fundraiser. Last year, the gym raised around $500. This year, officials hope to raise at least $650.

The Little Gym franchise is part of a nationwide effort to help kids explore their physical and social development. The very first gym opened in 1976 in Bellevue.

The Puyallup Little Gym opened in 2003 and has been serving local children and their families ever since. Business is up 35 percent, said Watrous.

“That’s exciting for us as a team and a business, but for families, too,” he said. “I’ve found the number one reason people come to the little gym is because they want their children to interact with other children.”

The gym provides a variety of classes in dance, gymnastics, sports skills, karate and music, and is available to kids ranging from 4 months to 12 years old.

Samantha Lloyd, a director at the gym, got a job as instructor when she was 16.

Now, four years later, she has been promoted to director. She makes sure classes are up to standard and assists with training and hiring employees.

At the open house, Lloyd will be in charge of a booth to provide people with information about the WonderKids Club, a program at the gym involving arts and crafts and story time.

“I’m really excited to meet all of our potential new members and get to know their kiddos and start building relationships,” Lloyd said.

The gym has hosted previous open houses with success, and Watrous expects around 75 people to stop by during the event.

The open house is scheduled for 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 27) at 3850 S Meridian #6. Donations must be cash only.

Allison Needles: 253-256-7043, @herald_allison