I can honestly say that I can’t remember a time when Gymboree Play & Music wasn’t a part of my life.
My mother, Deborah Dunn, became a franchise owner when I was only 4 years old. So needless to say Gymboree Play & Music was big part of my life growing up. When we were little we were my mother’s “employees”, we would help but labels on the flyers and help around the site with cleaning and set-up. When “working” in the office we would get “coffee” breaks and “paid” by picking things from the treasure chest. We used to “register” our dolls for Gymboree Play & Music class, I clearly remember sitting in my mother’s office in Westfield NJ and discussing with my sister what level our baby dolls were in. There is even video of me using Gymbo the stick puppet to entertain my cousins at a birthday party.
As I got older I took on more responsibilities at Gymboree Play & Music and I love it. When I was 12 years old, my job was to dress-up as Gymbo for kids birthday parties, even performing for an NFL star. At 13 years old I became a summer assistant, learning the different levels and classes, learning to blow the best bubbles and give out amazing Gymbo stamps!
At 17 I started teaching night classes and running birthday parties. I continued to work with my mother until I was 28 years old, even after I became a full time teacher, working nights and weekends. I was so dedicated to my job, that one time I locked myself out of the center and I broke down the door so I could start my party on time, pure dedication right there. I can honestly say I’ve done it all at Gymboree Play & Music, I have taught every level, art (you should’ve seen my smock), music (I had the best “ba’s” ever) , worked the summer camps and the drop off programs, birthday parties, special events and trained new staff.
I loved working at Gymboree Play & Music and have so many stories to tell. Some of my favorite things include “going on a lion hunt”, doing the peppermint twist, the freeze dance and of course bubbles. When I go to the beach I have a Gymboree Play & Music parachute and have even used bubbles in my classroom.
Maybe one day I will even take over my mother’s centers who knows, but my story took a different turn. I decided I want to be an international teacher, the only reason that I would ever stop working at Gymboree Play & Music, however while living in China I did make sure to stop in and visit the local Gymboree Play & Music center and it was like I was stepping right into Westfield. In the summer of 2015 I had my daughter Jillian and I was so excited to start taking her to Gymboree Play & Music, while we were sad that we couldn’t go to “Grandma’s Gymboree Play & Music” we would be attending Gymboree Play & Music in Bundang, South Korea! Yes, that is correct I now take my 10 month old to Gymboree Play & Music in Korea, I don’t know always know what the teachers are saying, but I know the lesson plans and I know the program and we love every minute of it. It so fun to watch her climb up the “rock wall”, slide down slides and race to give Gymbo hugs and kisses.
Thanks to Grandma I’m pretty sure we own almost everything Gymboree Play & Music sells and the shakers and maracas are hands down her favorites! I can’t wait to take her to art and music when she is old enough! It is so surreal to me to think that I started with Gymboree Play & Music when I was little back in NJ with my mother and now I am continuing that on 30 years later with my daughter in Korea!
Gymboree Play & Music has played a pivotal role in my life, teaching me “how to play”, how to be a good employee, how to have fun and of course how to blow bubbles! I don’t know where I will be living next but I know for sure I will be taking my daughter to Gymboree Play & Music there!