Homewood, IL – A single mother, Joyce Dickerson, acted on a vision many years ago that has proven to scratch an itch that benefit young people other than just her daughter. A mission to find her young daughter a productive playmate is actually a perfect example of listening to the voice within. Dickerson’s quest to find her daughter a few playmates brings forth the true meaning to “everything old is new again.” Reflecting fondly on how jumping double dutch rope was such a joyful way to past the time during her childhood, she set out to find a couple of playmates so that she could teach them, and her daughter the joy of this activity.
Dickerson’s daughter is now off to college; however, Dickerson continues to introduce other young people to this wonderful joy. At one point in life just encouraging young people to avoid teenage pregnancy and to go off to college was a large undertaking in itself. Yet the call to save our youth from the perils of youth is louder, and more serious today than ever.
The Pink Panthers double dutch jumpers are a group of young people that flip-flop, skip, hop, and cartwheel between two ropes slicing through the air around them. This is a group of boys and girls ages 5 – 18, and many volunteer parents. The daunting tasks of organizing squads, soliciting donations, training coaches, seeking sponsors, and establishing an operating budget is all done by founder, Joyce Dickerson, and the commitment of her volunteer parents. The ropes make a sharp pitter-patter as it smacks against the floor (or ground or pavement) while filling the void in so many other ways; these group of jumpers have grown to compete, and to win in competitions, they often receive requests for exhibition performances across the country, they have recently appeared in a few commercials, they have had the opportunity to share their skills on local TV, and talk shows, and they are a true testament to the First lady Michelle Obama “Let’s Move” campaign.
The young person interested do not have to have any previous experience, a part of the thrill is that they will teach the young person the skills needed to enjoy this sport. Both boys and girls are equal participants, and as they kick off their new season the recruiting, and enrollment has begin:
Who: Boys & Girls ~ ages 5 – 18
What: Panthers Jump Rope Team ~ 2013 ~ enrollment
When: Saturday(s) ~ August 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th
Where: 18645 Dixie Highway, Homewood, IL ~ Faith Lutheran Church
How: Sessions are for 4 weeks ~ no previous experience is required, the beauty is that they train the youngsters
State Rep. Al Riley (D-Olympia Fields) mention that this group is nationally known. He recalls one of the jumpers as a winner of his last Legislative Scholarship; he too respect, and supports their continued growth. There is no “one” solution to the social ills that plague our youth, but a true "hats off" to Dickerson, her volunteer parents, and sponsors over the years for reaching out to motivate, and encourage young people to realize that their best self is an ongoing work in progress.
These young people regrettably miss out on a few of the competitions that they are eligible for due to a lack of adequate funding. So the group always welcome supporters, sponsors, donations, and fund raising support; (708) 372-0734.