It's all done from a springy nylon platform known to all gymnasts as a trampolin. At Elk Lake, Mich. exhilarated youngsters have learned to leap, jump and fly through the air with the greatest of ease at the National Summer Palaestrum, a gymnastic camp devoted from June to August to developing physical skills among boys and girls from 8 to 18. The enrolled campers concentrate on tumbling, trampolin, free exercise, apparatus work and balancing under the direction of Charlie Pond, the University of Illinois gymnastic coach with a penchant for developing fine, coordinated bodies. Pond's methods—tried out on a lesser scale each winter by 300 students in the Champaign-Urbana area—have offered many a hopeful sign for youth's health and fitness. Pond-trained pupils have passed the Kraus-Weber tests with ease. The camp accommodates 120 youths in each of four two-week periods. Pond sums up his theory of gymnastics simply: "They are at the base of every sport. They develop strength and endurance. Important, too, are the grace and ability a child learns, giving him the coordination he needs. He learns flexibility."

Young gymnasts soar above mountains and lakes in breathtaking defiance of the laws of gravity. Turn page to see how it is done

Airborne, Lynne Reynolds, 11, and her instructor, Carolyn Ann Osborn, take off skyward from the trampolin.

Silhouetted against late sun, gymnasts cavort gracefully on parallel bars and vaulting box, dive nimbly onto grass.