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Sedona Kids Flip for Tom Cadigan

I have always loved working with kids,” said Tom Cadigan, a sixteen-year Sedona resident and gymnastics teacher. Referred to as “coach” by a large portion of Sedona’s youth, Cadigan’s gymnastic program has touched a great number of families in Sedona and the surrounding valley.

“Tom was always great with the kids as well as the parents. He cared about his students and it really showed,” said Susan Felton, a parent of a former student.

Cadigan’s gymnastics journey began in Phoenix, where he excelled for Arcadia High School. Ironically, his ties with the school provided Cadigan with his first coaching opportunity.

While competing at Arizona State University, Cadigan took over the job vacated by his former gymnastics coach. “ I started (coaching) right out of high school and throughout college. I took the job to save the (Arcadia) program from dying.”

Cadigan took to coaching immediately, “I enjoyed the interaction with the kids. It was just a lot of fun for me.” Little did Cadigan know that he had found his calling.

 After competing at ASU for three years, and graduating with a teaching degree, Cadigan packed up and moved north to pursue his coaching career further. Arriving in Sedona in 1985, he established a gymnastics center in the industrial park in West Sedona.

Cadigan’s classes were popular in the community, creating a large progeny of Sedona youth connected to him and his programs.

“He was much more than a coach; he was a friend. It was more like a family for us than a program,” said Nick Falsetto, a Sedona native and long time gymnastics student. “He always gave us 100 percent.”  

After a successful run of 15 years in his gym, he sold the lease and, just recently, began a mobile gymnastics program. “I am happy with the mobile program because I am able to reach more children. This allows me to travel to the kids as opposed to them coming to me.”

His new programs are available throughout the summer, offering children the option of variety in their athletics. The program contains tumbling, the pommel and vaulting horses, the balance beam, and the single bar along with simple gymnastics. Available to the older crowd, junior high and high school students, is a cheerleading program, to help introduce future cheerleaders to the demands of cheering.

Cadigan believes gymnastics is a good experience for all children. “It creates a great deal of self-confidence in the kids. When they finally land a trick, after working on it for so long, their faces beam. It is a great feeling for them and for me.”

He contends that gymnastics can carry over into success in other sports as well. “It is an all around great athletic crossover sport. It builds strength, flexibility and agility while improving their coordination and body control. I have seen a great number of students from my classes excel in athletics, and I think a lot of it is due to gymnastics.” 

Cadigan’s classes will be available throughout the Verde Valley all summer long. On Mondays, classes will be at Big Park School in the morning and Cottonwood in the afternoon. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Cadigan will be at the Brewer Road School, Thursdays it’s West Sedona School and Fridays he will be back in Cottonwood at the Parks and Recreation Center.

The cost is $25-$30 per month, one session each week. For more information regarding his summer programs, contact Cadigan at 282-4913.

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