When Marketia Sykes opened Twist & Shout Training Center 20 years ago, she had no idea it would blossom into four gyms teaching tumbling and teamwork to hundreds of Oklahoma girls. This month marks the 20-year anniversary of the first gym Sykes opened in Edmond. She now also operates gyms in Tulsa, Norman and Muskogee.
In addition to celebrating two decades in business, Sykes is celebrating being the only program in the state to win the USASF cheerleading world championship and winning the most National Cheerleaders Association national titles in Oklahoma.
Twist & Shout athletes recently competed at the 2016 Summit Varsity All Stars Cheerleading and Dance Championship at the Walt Disney World Resort. More than 9,000 teams compete in Varsity Cheer and only the best 900 of them get invited to Summit. Ten of those teams get the Summit bid for Semi-Final Senior Restricted Level 5 Division, Sykes said, and six teams are moved into Finals. One team is declared the winner and Twist & Shout has been that one team two years in a row.
Oklahoma City mom Kelly Stout started her two daughters, Lyndsey Kang (30) and Myranda Stout (24), at Twist & Shout when they were just 10 and 5 years old. For her, getting her kids involved in classes at Twist & Shout was hardly just about winning championships or developing athleticism.
"I think we sometimes absentmindedly put our kids into activities to keep them busy," Kelly Stout said. "But if you pay close attention to the environment you're putting them in, it's so much more than staying busy. They learned leadership skills, how to work together as a team and they made lifelong friends."
Her oldest daughter now works for Twist & Shout and her youngest uses many skills she learned through cheer in her personal and professional life.
"It's amazing to watch your kids grow up in an environment that really focuses on teamwork and then see them encourage and motivate people to work together through the rest of their lives," Kelly Stout said.
As we use this August issue to shed light on some after-school opportunities available in the Oklahoma City area, we hope you find extracurricular activities that will grow your kids in every direction.
"Really put thought into what you're putting your kids into," Kelly Stout advised. "The people who teach them in and outside of school spend so much time with your children. Twist & Shout helped mold my kids into what they are together and for that I'm forever grateful."
For a guide to some mom-approved after-school opportunities in the metro area, see our After-School Activities Guide.