SAINT PAUL, Minn. - A popular summer program has returned to Saint Paul with a new, even healthier message. The Jump Jam Double Dutch Challenge is teaching children and adults more than just jump rope.
At the Oxford/Jimmy Lee Recreation Center on Tuesday, kids were jumping into summer with both feet.
Key'arra King is learning to double dutch for the first time. She said, "I think it's good for kids my age because it's something to do instead of sitting at home."
For ten weeks, kids and adults will dodge double jump ropes as part of the free program.
Jasmine Toliver was a participant last year. This year she's coaching others. She said, "It's fun to see how they improve."
Christina McCoy, with the YWCA of Saint Paul, said, "People often think about double dutching as just having fun and not so much exercising. But it really has tremendous health benefits. It's great for your cardiovascular health. It builds endurance and helps keep your balance as well."
The program, now in its second year, is adding some new layers.
Participants will now also learn about nutrition and community service.
McCoy said, "We're going to be working with the community garden, finding ways for them to give back to their communities."
The Jump Jam Double Dutch Challenge ten-week program runs Monday through Thursday, from noon to 4 p.m. at three different Saint Paul rec centers.
It's sponsored by the city of Saint Paul, the YWCA of Saint Pauland Health Partners.
According to organizers, it's possible to learn how to double dutch in just one day. That may mean jumping the ropes just a couple of times. But those who work at it week after week just get better from there.
There were over 300 participants last year. The hope is that this year there will be more.
You can find last year's final competition on You Tube, a video produced by HealthPartners.
Deondra Johnson learned how to double dutch last year. She said, "After a couple weeks I got the hang of it and now I know how to go fast."
She placed third in last year's final challenge. Her dreams to double dutch even better this year begin now.
The Jump Jam Double Dutch Challenge began on June 17th, 2013.
Registration is still open.
You can register one of the three St. Paul recreation centers where the program is being held.
Those are the Wellstone Community Center at 179 E. Robie Street, the Oxford/Jimmy Lee Recreation Center at 270 N. Lexington Parkway and the Dayton's Bluff Recreation Center at 790 Conway Ave.
It's open to kids and adults age 10 and older. Kids younger than 10 may be able to participate if they are accompanied by an adult.
The free program runs Monday through Thursday, from noon to 4 p.m. through August 22nd.
The final competition is on August 24th.
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