GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Calvin University’s recreation center was jumping with excitement as the university was the site for Corewell Health’s 10th annual Jump Jam.
The free competition is for 3rd through 5th graders in the Godfrey-Lee, Godwin, Grand Rapids, Kelloggsville, Kentwood and Wyoming Parks Public Schools.
Corewell Health, formerly known as Spectrum Health, continues to carry on this tradition of merging lifestyle education with a fun activity like jumping rope.
“Parents, kids and coaches at the school have an opportunity to work towards something and have success,” Jane Gietzen, director of digital services at Corewell Health, said. “It’s just a fun way to get in a workout and build a team. They cheer each other on. They are happy to be together and they’re all proud.”
Gietzen was introduced to a similar event while her kids attended Grand Rapids Public Schools but once the leader of that program transitioned from the district, no one else picked up the work.
So, she decided to continue that vision and expand it.
“The person that ran that event retired so the event stopped. I went to the public relations folks at Spectrum Health at the time and said ‘Wow, can we do something like this with help from Spectrum Health because we want to make sure we are offering opportunities for all kids to get exercise and have fun and enjoy a day,'” Gietzen said.
Students participated in about six different competitive categories with volunteers counting each jump.
The event is more than just a one-day competition. The students are engaged in an eight week program before the event that teaches them about health and wellness.
“There’s a curriculum that goes in place with Jump Jam where they are learning the importance of getting in enough water for the day, enough sleep, limiting their screen time and getting the necessary fruits and vegetables,” Melissa Kamara Liggins, the senior director of communications and marketing at Corewell Health South, said. “So along with physical activity which is so important to health, we are also giving extra information and education about other important essentials to make a healthy individual.”
As Corewell Health celebrated the 10th anniversary of the program, organizers are looking forward to the future.
“We are shaking off the COVID cobwebs, and we are introducing Jump Jam to a whole new set of kiddos. So future years for us means more growth, more kids being exposed to healthy lifestyle education and the ability to be physically active and have fun,” Liggins said.
To learn more about Jump Jam, visit www.jumpjam.org.