Monday, February 18, 2008

All-Star Jump Rope Workshop in Santa Monica

Left to right: Jeff (from Houston, Texas), Lee (Boise, Idaho), Mike (Akron, Ohio) and Nick (Houston). Photo courtesy John Fletcher/USAJR.

This past weekend, 15 of the best jumpers from around the country descended on Los Angeles for California's first-ever USA Jump Rope All-Star Workshop. On Friday, they did 4 performances at Santa Monica public schools and a Boys and Girls Club; on Saturday, they taught about 100 kids how to improve their skills; and on Sunday, JUMP! screened at the Monica Laemmle movie theater to an audience of 150+ people. Before and after the screening, the jumpers performed outside of the theater and got loads of bystanders to participate...until the police asked us to stop.

One of the first questions in the post-screening Q&A was for Lee: "Do you have a girl friend yet?" His answer: "Nope." But he did recently graduate first in his class with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Boise State University. He's hoping to put his brain and his brawn to good use as an jumper for Cirque du Soliel. We're rooting for him.

Marian & John from USAJR and Nikki Jackson, founder of the new Santa Monica-based Jump Squad and co-host of the All-Star weekend, deserve big props for making this event happen. After seeing JUMP! last summer at the Los Angeles Film Festival, Nikki -- whom I had never met before that screening -- said that jump rope had changed her life; she had recently lost 130 lbs thru jumping and was committed to helping to fight childhood obesity. She decided to quit her day job and start an after-school jump rope enrichment program. Her plan worked and quickly expanded to several local schools. No doubt Nikki will help get a few great new teams going strong in So Cal.

Of the weekend, Nikki said: "The results of our collaboration have proven to be very successful it has had an amazing impact on my immediate community. The sport of jump rope gives its participants a great sense of confidence, discipline, fun, physical fitness, leadership, inspiration and determination. Personally, I'm rejuvenated and and inspired in a tremendous way. Witnessing the transformational effects of our efforts on the faces and in the hearts of the children and adults we impacted this weekend is truly rewarding and provides the necessary fuel to move full speed ahead." Go get 'em Nikki!


Anonymous said...

Dear Helen,

I just wanted to tell you what an absolutely terrific movie you've made and how really entertaining and inspiring it was all the way through. If I were to have any regrets, it would be that everyone I know was not there with me to see it and they would be better off if they had. Such creative athletic capabilities and of course I just love the "Share and Care" motto. Made me want to go to the next big competition to get some more of all of that "good stuff". By the end of the movie I felt like I had a relationship with these kids and I love how committed and expressive they are. Anyway.....thank you again for such a treat. I look forward to being able to buy copies of it and sending it to everyone I know.

-Judy A.

Anonymous said...


Congratulations on such an engaging documentary! Lionel and I had the pleasure of being seated right behind RazzMaTazz. It was fun watching them nudge each other and crack jokes during certain parts. Overall, I felt very absorbed in the film, and came out of it feeling a definite attachment to both the sport and the jumpers. The demo bringing it to life was a great idea. Did those cops end up volunteering to jump? ;)

I found Tori especially inspirational. I love the part where she says (about her asthma), "..that makes it even more challenging--which I like". In a society where so many kids (and adults, for that matter) are content to laze in front of the tube playing video games and eating chips all day, being spoon-fed their opinions by popular media, it's refreshing to see someone so young with such passion for something other than abject consumerism. The film conveys a very positive set of messages to children (in addition to the obvious physical fitness aspect), such as camaraderie in the face of competition; maintenance of a strong sense of self--not letting classmates' baseless harsh judgments make them feel bad about doing something they love; and the value of diplomacy (as in the part where Marcus agrees to hold back from yelling at his team, even though yelling is what comes naturally to him).


Julianne Karelitz
UCSC Alumni Association
Merrill '99

Chana said...


I am truly excited about the success of the JUMP Squad! I remember when it was just a vision and now that vision has come a reality! Most importantly, through your vision you are helping so many in so many ways. Continue to DREAM BIG and JUMP HIGH!

Thanks for your inspiring spirit!


Thanks for your support and making this a huge event! Through your movie, you will get a lot of young people excited about jumping again. I look for all of you to come to the Bay Area! We need it!

Bring it on! We're ready!

Chana - Bay Area

Anonymous said...

Wow, Nikki! Thanks for helping bring the USA Jump Rope All-Star Weekend together! Emma had a fabulous time! We haven't seen the movie yet, but I look forward to it-- I did watch the video short introducing the team, and I got misty watching it! I love what these kids are doing and I love that Emma is so into it--

Thank you thank you thank you--

Peace and Blessings,

Diane R. (Emma B.'s mom)

Anonymous said...

that tori is like a little buddha. and lee is an occult genius from outer space. those kids were so inspiring. i totally cried.

- jennifer sharpe

Anonymous said...

I was impressed by these young athletes for not just their dedication and will and passion but for their beautiful personalities and the way they are toward others as well as their gumpshin to make it happen. A huge thank you to Nikki to exposing us to a world we did not know existed. I am intoxicated with enthusiasm for the healthy environment my six year old daughter Mimi is entering, not only physical health but also of spirit. Nikki we're proud and lucky to be part of the JUMP SQUAD. My wish is for JUMP! the movie to be seen by many and for the revolution of jumpers and their beautiful spirits to spread thickly and quickly. And of course, a big thank you to the USA Jump Rope All Star Team for sharing the love.

Paula G.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I couldn't make it down for the event, but thankfully Billy Jackson was able to stop by my classroom and visit with my group of 20 eight-year old jumpers and inspired them all to keep skipping!

I've just registered with USAJR and formed an organization in Berkeley called 3D Double Dutch Jump Rope Arts. I'll be contacting you to make jump rope a reality in the Bay Area this summer! Find out more at

Way to go All-Stars!
-Byron D.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!