Who would think that double dutch, an old school jump rope game, is changing girls’ lives -- one jump at a time.
Lynn Travers is the double dutch coach for the Beantown Jumpers, a program run out of Mildred Middle School (Boston Public School) in Mattapan where Lynn is also the swimming teacher. What exactly is the Beantown Jumpers? It is a unique non-profit double dutch program that originated about five years ago. The mission of the program is to share the sport of double dutch.
Lynn Travers, referred to by her players as Coach Trav, became inspired to teach double dutch because of her mother, Patti Travers. Patti Travers, also a teacher and known as Coach T, incorporated double dutch into her physical education class at the Timilty Middle School to offer more variety in physical education class and encourage more girls to be active. When she started, Coach T didn’t know anything about teaching double dutch. She asked her daughter to help her teach the girls and had no idea what kind of impact she would have on her own daughter’s life as an adult who would go on to start the Beantown Jumpers.
At age 23, Coach Trav interviewed for what she refers to as her “dream job” at Mildred Middle School where she teaches swimming and double dutch. She was able to combine both her love of swimming with her own experience of double dutch to teach young girls discipline, determination, sportsmanship, teamwork and integrity with a jump rope.
"The Beantown Jumpers believe in the value of sports and athletics as a connection to healthy development, both physically and emotionally, for children,” Coach Trav says.
The program is giving young girls a place to play while developing their character. Coach Trav says “our girls have tremendous poise and gain self-esteem and confidence while working together as a team.”
The Red Auerbach Youth Foundation and Northeastern Sports & Society currently sponsor tournaments and provide trainings for coaches to train youngsters to jump. The Women’s Sports Foundation, Dream Big and the Champs Boston (part of the Boston Foundation) have also assisted with funding the program and their traveling expenses.
The program believes in turning their girls into role models by allowing the veterans to teach beginners the ins and outs of double dutch.
Coach Trav says “youngsters love to learn from other youngsters and it is very good for the team to develop connections with their audiences.”
The goal for the Beantown Jumpers for the past two years was to develop a team that could compete in the 39th World National Double Dutch Championship in Sumpter, S.C.
This past summer they achieved that goal. With tireless practices, teamwork and commitment, the Bomb Squad was created. The team was coached by Coach Trav and her mother Patti. The seventh grade girls who were apart of that team were Joselyn Cotto and Ella James of Mildred Ave, as well as Juliette Silva and Janelle Vazquez of the Timolity Middle School.
The Bomb Squad’s speed, dance routine and free style tricks which include cartwheels, back flips and creative moves helped them earn third place.
For Ella, this was truly one moment in time she will never forget.
“I never won anything that big and for us to win 3rd place in the world was a big accomplishment. We did it,” Ella said.
Coach Trav and her the Beantown Jumpers are definitely impacting Boston Public Middle Schools and developing young athletes that are hoping to help her grow the Beantown program to the next level. As Ella moves on to high school next year she says, “Coach Trav has taught me discipline and how to be committed to something.”
A former basketball star and scholar-athlete at Burke and James Madison, Brandy Cruthird teaches at the Dearborn Middle School and is a regular contributor to Boston.com/bps. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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