Back to Kids

Jumping rope helps kids lay fitness foundation

Marisa Petrich/JBLM PAO Ryan Wynder, 9, sees how many jumps she can get into a set during a jump rope competition at JBLM’s Teen Zone.

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

When Buddy Lee's father came back from the Vietnam War, he was never quite the same.

His mom was the primary caregiver for the family's six kids, and life was stressful at times. But then Lee discovered athletics and his whole life changed.

"Sports saved my life," he said on a recent visit to Joint Base Lewis-McChord. "Sports taught me how to believe in myself."

Lee went on to be a member of the 1992 Olympic wrestling team and a 20-time national champion, as well as twice being voted Marine Athlete of the Year in his 11 years in the Marine Corps.

Now he's sharing that passion for sports, and a strong sense of self-confidence, with military kids all over the world. As part of Child, Youth and School Services' "Get Fit - Be Strong" program, Lee and his team of trainers are traveling to Army installations world-wide to teach CYSS staff and kids the fundamentals of jumping rope.

He spent three days on JBLM, culminating in a jump rope competition at the Lewis Teen Zone Saturday.

"This is the building block of fitness," he told the kids, ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade, at the event.

Jumping rope is a great cardio exercise that works every muscle in the body, according to Lee. Just 10 minutes of the exercise is equal to 12 minutes of swimming or playing 18 holes of golf - without the cart.

But the idea is not to get kids excited about jump ropes alone. Trainers also talked to them about nutrition and the importance of staying active. The intent is to get kids into active and healthy lifestyles early, and to keep them there.

"We have a health issue in the United States across the board with obesity," CYSS Youth Administrator Thomas Harris Jr. said, and military children are no exception.

That's why 45 members of the JBLM CYSS staff spent a day with Lee and the team learning all of his training techniques.

"The next day our calves were sore. Our heart rates were up and we actually got a great workout," CYSS Management Trainee Ebony Austin said of the event.

Soon they'll be bringing that to the kids on the installation, to keep them fit and help them deal with the stress that comes of being a military child.

That's important to Lee, who called this program his life mission. When he talks to the kids on Army bases, he sees a lot of himself - and he wants them to live up to their full potential.

"These kids are like me," he said. "I can relate to them."

comments powered by Disqus