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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of America Scores Boston
The South End was abuzz with soccer enthusiasts of all ages to celebrate at the 2012 SCORES Celebration Thursday night with special guest, U.S. women’s national soccer team star Heather O’Reilly. Students, athletes and Boston public school supporters gathered at the high-energy gala at Cyclorama for a night of soccer activities, poetry performances and food from local restaurants.
The faces of Boston public school athletes lit up as they received pointers from O'Reilly in the kid's clinic that kicked off the event. The olympic gold champion enthusiastically assisted each player in shooting and passing drills and coached them in a scrimmage.
“I've been involved for close to seven years," O'Reilly said. "I fell in love with the program and its uniqueness. I was an education major in college so it sort of blended together everything I find important. When I heard America SCORES was [in Boston] I jumped at the opportunity to help.”
O'Reilly also spoke about competing in the London olympics, signed autographs and posed for photos.
O’Reilly, New England Revolution team President Brian Bilello and New England Revolution broadcaster Brad Feldman spoke about their love of America SCORES and the impact it’s making on students.
“It’s a great organization,” Bilello said. “The fact that they’re combining soccer and education is great. It’s made a lot of sense for a long time for the Revs to be involved.”
After the soccer events, Lael Watson, a fifth-grader at Orchard Gardens K-8 School in Roxbury, made a poetry performance.
“My poem ‘I Am’ is about where I’m from and who I am,” Watson said. “I’m nervous, but I have a lot of confidence. I’m really happy I was chosen.”
Coach Mark Salzillo was thrilled and grateful that SCORES invited the Orchard Garden School.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to meet professional soccer players and create the idea of soccer at a bigger level for them, because they’re all beginners,” Salzillo said.
The celebration was provided by America SCORES Boston, a non-profit organization dedicated to help urban youth attain life skills, literacy, and health through soccer.
“America SCORES is a very special organization because it gives kids the platform to believe in themselves,” O’Reilly said. “Keep it up America SCORES because you’re doing fantastic things.”
A group of Boston area middle and elementary school students recently participated in the Boys and Girls Club National Swim Championships in St. Petersburg, Florida, as part of Team New England.
Each of the 10 middle school students are members of the Blue Hill Boys & Girls Club, which established its aquatic program in 2008.
Team New England finished second overall and won the Team Spirit Cup at the meet, which was held from March 30 to April 1.
Nine of the 10 swimmers are from Dorchester or Mattapan, and 13-year old Jaida Alverez is from Hyde Park and attends Boston Teachers Union.
Ten-year-old Qwaneyce Taylor of the Richard J. Murphy School of Boston finished in eighth place in the 9-10-year-old 100 yard butterfly. Also finishing in the top 8 was Pablo Azamore, an 8-year-old student at the Perry School in South Boston. He placed sixth in the 8-under boys 50 yard backstroke.
The additional members of the Blue Hill Bearcats who traveled to Florida for the national meet include Christian Kelle (13, Up Academy, South Boston), Zhaniya Bryant (12, Boston Trinity Academy, Boston), Kyle Reid and Kayla Reid (11, Wellesley Middle School), Arianna Williams (10, William Elementary School, Neeham), Sierra Sinclair (9, Bates Elementary School, Wellesley), China Nelson (9, Young Achievers, Boston).
All of the students who participated in the meet either placed in a relay, in the top 16 individually, or scored points for Team New England.
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- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
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