By KIM HWANG, PsyD
AAP staff columnist
ST. PAUL (Aug. 24, 2012) — What’s going well? The Jump Jam Double Dutch Jump Rope Contest promoting physical endurance and creativity! Wellness was the focus of a community event at the St. Paul Jimmy Lee Community Center.
Jump Jam is the name of a Double Dutch Jump Rope Contest that was held in St. Paul, Minnesota sponsored by one of Minnesota’s largest medical organizations, HealthPartners. The contest drew in a crowd of over one hundred enthusiastic local Rondo community residents. The Rondo residents eagerly supported the Double Dutch jump ropers who passionately competed.
The crowd was full of anticipation, energy and excitement! HealthPartner’s Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Mary Brainerd was also persuaded to try her luck at Double Dutch jump roping. CEO Brainerd stated that her favorite part of the day was, “Seeing the kids jump! I’ve learned so much since we’ve started the kick off! It’s been great to see how much energy the kids have and the effort they’ve put into this!” Health Partners, a sponsor of the wellness initiative intends work towards promoting and increasing preventative health care by sponsoring motivating and meaningful events that engage community members, across age groups. CEO Brainerd further stated that, “Health Partners expects to continue to promote activities that are fun, social and help people build life long healthy habits because they love them!”
Promoting habits of daily physical activity is one of the best ways towards creating a healthy lifestyle and reducing incidents of heart disease, diabetes and chronic stress. When asked about the First Lady Michelle Obama’s National Fitness Campaign towards promoting wellness, Brainerd responded, “HealthPartners wants everyone to have health care.” The Double Dutch jump rope contest is an example of inexpensive, fun, meaningful and physical activity that encourages young people to spend time with their friends. Brainerd sees that physical fitness is key to a positive and healthy future. CEO Brainerd further believes that in order to preserve the health of our young and vibrant community members, we need to invest in preventative care and wellness initiatives so that all of our children will one day be called upon to lead our country in one way or another.
Participants at the jump rope contest ranged from five years old to a team that identified as, “The Old School Team,” to fifty-six years old. Each age group brought a distinct style to the sport, bringing the crowd to a roar after each performance. Ms. Kandace Logan, Minneapolis School teacher and St. Paul community member was on the winning team comprised of: Kiamare McEwan, Kendra Logan, Camolly Williams and Shirley Williams. Their performance brought the audience to their feet, screaming, whistling and applauding with overwhelming joy! A standing ovation and scores of perfect tens across the judge’s panel clenched the win for the oldest and best overall team to compete! They definitely saved the best performance for last!
At the same time, the other teams that competed were fantastic and extraordinary as well. Children and adults of all ages jumped, danced, did summersaults, push-ups and sometimes two-three participants jumped rope at a time. Creativity floored the audience and the music created an upbeat tempo, which had everyone dancing in their chairs.
Double Dutch is historically known by some people as a long-time tradition, that dates back to the 1950’s Harlem, New York City pastime. In fact, Double Dutch jump roping has now become the rage! Over four thousand athletes enjoy Double Dutch jump roping as a sport across the nation, not to mention those who compete across the globe. In fact, Japanese young people in recent years have won several competitions in the last four years. In 2009, Double Dutch became a varsity sport in New York City high schools. Competitions often take place at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. But today in St. Paul, Minnesota, the Double Dutch jump rope competition took place in one of St. Paul’s favorite community centers the Jimmy Lee Community Center built in the 1960’s.
Ms. Kandace Logan, a long time Rondo and St. Paul community member, mother and former St. Paul teacher hopes that HealthPartners will begin to build collaborative working relationships with urban schools. After her team won the contest, she shared that she has a son who is entering St. Paul Schools and hopes that St. Paul will continue to examine healthy food choices, increasing parent education cooking initiatives, provide literature about healthy lifestyles to community members and even partner with the University of Minnesota who is also passionate about increasing wellness.
As a mother, Logan stated, “I want my child to enter a school district where wellness is a key component of their education. As an educator, I understand that building awareness about nutrition, healthy ways to reduce stress and increasing physical activity are imperative.” Logan, a strong supporter of the President and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Wellness Campaign hopes that HealthPartners will continue its support in events like today’s events so that kids and community members can see that CEO Brainerd’s vision can be realized, “Wellness is fun! I had a great time preparing for the Double Dutch contest! I had so much fun! Kim, I had so much fun!” While Brainerd had fun watching, Kandace Logan had fun participating! A fun time with fitness was had by all!