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The well known phrase “your mission, should you choose to accept it…” is a signature of the popular television show and movie franchise Mission Impossible.  The things they were tasked with accomplishing were truly daunting.  While the mission of JumpBunch does not place our coaches in life and death situations by comparison, we believe that what we hope to accomplish truly matters in a way that can influence the lives of children forever.

Our formal mission statement is that “We will enthusiastically teach young children to embrace sports and fitness and believe in their ability to lead a healthy, engaged, and active lifestyle.”  It’s nice to have it spelled out like that, but we admit that is a mouthful.  Several years ago we used our tagline to boil this down so that, parents especially, can easily see who we are and what we deliver.  It’s just four words.

Sports.  Smiles.  Fitness.  FUN!

There is nothing difficult to understand there, and it is easily measured.  Sports is the vehicle with which we promote fitness in kids.  So much of what kids become is instilled at the earliest of ages.  We strive to make sure that each and every week kids see new ways to stay healthy through a variety of sports.  By making sure these experiences are producing smiles that are the best indicators of FUN, we are laying the groundwork for kids to want sports to be a part of their life.  When we burst through the doors with our equipment in tow, it is a rock star experience for us to see the kids excited about what we are about to do.

Our teams do make a choice each time theY head off to teach a class.  That choice is to enthusiastically show kids that sports and being fit are things they should enjoy and expect to have fun doing.  Mission…ACCEPTED!

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Active and Happy!

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The poster that JumpBunch franchisees place on the walls in schools hosting our classes has the following two words standing out…ACTIVE AND HAPPY!  Of course, we all want nothing more than for kids to be happy and healthy!  Our mission, and the role we play in helping make that happen, is to get kids moving more, introduce them to many fun sports/activities, and teach that being active is a choice that makes your life better.  We like to say “building healthy habits early”!

Being active is only part of what makes someone truly healthy though.  Last year, we introduced a weekly nutritional option to our classes to address another piece of that puzzle.  Now, for just a few minutes each week, kids in JumpBunch classes can hear about a fruit or vegetable of the week to promote healthier eating.  We bet that if your child comes home asking for apples and carrots that you as a parent will appreciate the help!

Proper nutrition and a nice bit of exercise come together to help promote another thing that is so important to being happy and healthy.  That is getting enough sleep and rest.  Show me a child that eats nutritious food, gets their body moving each day, and sleeps enough every night, and I will likely be looking at one truly happy and healthy kiddo.  Sounds easy, but the reality is that the easy part is not doing one or more of these things when you have the ability to.  It takes work to make sure these “simple” things are what is normal for a child.  At JumpBunch, we are happy to be a part of that each week for many kids.  The American Heart Association has a program worth checking out too called Healthy for Good.  Check out the video below to learn more.

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Fun Starts Here

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If you’ve ever had fun in a class of any kind, I will guarantee you that much of that was because of the leader, teacher, coach, or whatever their title was on that day.  It’s absolutely true that the fun starts here.

JumpBunch franchise owners just attended our annual conference, and for most the word “conference” is closely related to a sleep aid.  Happy to say that is not our group.  In fact, every year what they look forward to most is what we call a teaching session where they simply get to share great classroom ideas aimed at giving kids more ways to have FUN while learning about sports and fitness.  Now, this isn’t your typical person standing up talking about what they do while everyone vigorously takes notes…or not.  This is a live, interactive, loud, and what’s that word…FUN time!  And it could go on for hours…

Now don’t get us wrong, our franchisees have more tame sessions where they are learning how to be better business owners in many areas of operation.  However, they know that the core of their success is the experience the child has in the classes they lead or they train their coaches to lead.  It’s worth saying again that the fun starts here.  We are proud to have franchise owners that know they cannot stop working at this, and their greatest resource is the creativity and inspiration of each other.  So the next time your child comes home and says they had fun in JumpBunch class, know that is likely the same thing their coach is going home saying as well!

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Never Give Up

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A message we try to send in every JumpBunch class is that instead of saying “I give up” we should say “I’ll try again.”  To learn anything, we must experience failure.  In fact, to get really good at something we must fail a lot!  Think about the fact that the greatest hitter in baseball history still made an out 60% of the time.  Michael Jordan, likely the greatest basketball player of all time, was cut from his team long before he went on to star for the University of North Carolina and Chicago Bulls.  Many consider Peyton Manning as one of the best quarterbacks of all time, and he holds the NFL record for most career touchdown passes with 539.  However, over the course of that career, he also threw 251 interceptions.  His accomplishments, and all athletes who achieve great things, would never be possible if the reaction to failure was anything other than trying again…and again…and again.

Children should be taught many things, but one of them is not to be afraid of trying something new or to try again.  Instead, the focus should be on the enjoyment of exploration and the fun that is possible even when you don’t get it right the first time.  At the earliest of ages, this is way more important than being limited to one activity or saddled with an expectation that failure is bad.  The better message is that it is a big world filled with many things worth trying, and trying is the only real way to find out what you like, are good at, or can be great at through practice and enjoyment of the game.

To bring this message home, here is a link to one of our absolute favorite videos that is a great example of never giving up and what can happen when you just keep trying.

Never Give Up

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Kids are Kids

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Recently we had a call with a group from China that were interested in possibly bringing JumpBunch to their country.  During the call they asked a question about how cultural differences might need to be considered when evaluating how the program might work there or in other countries.  Our CEO, Tom Bunchman, began his reply by pointing out something that is so simple yet so powerful.  Kids are kids.  At the core of it all, if we let them, kids all have the same basic needs and desires wherever they may be.

As true as that is, it’s so easily forgotten and lost when trying to overthink what is going to be appealing to kids.  The fact is that kids have an innate desire and ability to have fun and play.  Mix in the natural curiosity and willingness to try new things and you really have all you need to make a great kid’s program.  This is the core of what JumpBunch is and what we want kids to find in our classes.  For us, sports is just the vehicle to carry kids into a world where being active and healthy is simply fun and full of potentially new experiences all the time.

Tom also pointed out that even here in the United States, children in the midwest, south, northeast, and west are all a bit culturally different.  Yet, when given the chance there is no geographic hesitation to get down to play.  There may be a time and a need to “get serious” and “specialize”.  That is not the role we play though nor the one kids need when learning to build healthy habits.  We, the grown ups, are the only ones who add confusion to the process.  Let them be kids.  Show them that being active, learning new things, and working together is fun, and they will “play” for a lifetime.

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Take This to “Heart” in February

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There’s a lot going in February.  Rumor is that there is a pretty big football game (you might even call it Super)  to kick things off.  There is also an important and fun holiday full of candy, flowers, and gifts from the heart.  Speaking of hearts, February is also the month that we are encouraged to consider how well we are taking care of that most important organ in our bodies.

JumpBunch has always had the goal of helping kids “build healthy habits early”.  Of course, we primarily focus on the physical activity side of things that is a core part of building a healthy heart.  We also help introduce ideas for healthy nutrition that is essential for having the energy to be physically active.

Being physically active and considering proper nutrition are critical, but being truly “heart healthy” involves a few more things too.  Making sure kids get the proper amount of sleep is a huge component.  Kids need routines, and a consistent sleep schedule is a routine that is invaluable as their bodies grow.  Keeping kids as stress free as possible is also something  worth considering in terms of heart health.  As parents, we create the environments our kids live in, and too often the stress of life can creep in if we let it.

Kids take their cues from Mom and Dad, so here is a great article that lists 12 smart tips to help your kids have the healthiest of hearts.

Get Heart Healthy

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Some Things Can’t Wait for Resolutions

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Some things simply can’t wait for resolutions.  To clarify, we are talking about New Year’s resolutions.  That mythical “starting line” that occurs on January 1 each year can be recreated in any month on any day that you choose.  As parents, we all want our kids to be happy and healthy so we try to put them in position to be active through a variety of programs. However, sometimes we fail to realize that while that is good, the best way to motivate our kids to be active is to give them a good example to follow.

There’s no selfishness in putting a priority on your own fitness as a parent when the reality is that the healthier you are the more you are able to give to your child.  Give…meaning time, interest, attention, and motivation.  It’s only half the equation when you encourage your child to exercise and don’t keep up.  Kids will do what you say because they have to, but they will do what you do because they learn to.

Notice that when airlines are giving their pre-flight safety instructions, they always say to “secure your mask first”, because if you don’t you simply will not be able to help the person depending on you most.  Don’t you think it’s time to apply that same philosophy to keeping yourself active and healthy?  Sounds like a great New Year’s resolution right?  Wrong.  It sounds more like a resolution to begin no matter what day tomorrow is.

Here’s an article with some more thoughts aimed at getting you moving as a busy parent!

Parents Who Exercise…

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Giving Fitness Fun

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Earlier this year one of our posts discussed the fact that healthy habits start at home. A habit is basically an action repeated often enough to become a routine that occurs without any thought. Unfortunately a habit can also be characterized by inaction though. When you choose not to engage with your kids at home in a way that promotes an active and healthy lifestyle, that lack of activity is as much a bad a habit as doing so is a good one.

The holidays and gift giving season creates a wonderful opportunity as parents to do something aimed at ending this year and starting next working on a good habit. We are often asked by parents about the great equipment used in JumpBunch classes. Often, all it takes for the kids to get excited about class is seeing the great things our coaches come in carrying for that day’s lesson plan.

If your child is a JumpBunch student, what better way to engage with them at home in a fun and active way than to share in some of their JumpBunch excitement? With the help of our equipment partner, S&S Worldwide, we have put together a list of great gift ideas from our classes that your kids are sure to recognize. If your child is not currently a JumpBunch student, these are still great items to get started with to build those healthy habits at home. We are even able to pass along some savings to you on our recommended items along with many more. Be sure to check this out but keep in mind this list and special offers are only available through the end of December 2016. JumpBunch Holiday Gift Guide

We hope you enjoy and make the most of your holiday time with your kids. Remember that to them exercise and fun should be one in the same, and the more you can be part of that the happier they will be. All the best this holiday season from JumpBunch!

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Let’s Hear It For the Girls

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A CNN report this year indicated that by age 14 girls begin to drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys.  By age 17, about 51% of girls have stopped playing sports entirely.  70% of those girls that quit simply say they didn’t feel like they belong in sports.  Well, let’s hear it for the girls, because JumpBunch knows they do belong in sports!

We often speak the words “building healthy habits early”.  This statement applies directly to what is described above.   Our classes are not designed to build super athletes or  focus on one particular thing at too early of an age.  Instead, our goal is to simply make sports a fun thing to do.  We hope to build confidence in kids to embrace new things and teach them not to fear but simply to try!  It takes time to build a habit, positive or negative.   So getting kids (boys and girls)  involved in sport and fitness activities early gives you more time to emphasize having fun, being healthy, and doing new things without fear.  When the time comes for them to make their own choices, this experience can help ensure those decisions are based on what they want and not the influence of others who aren’t so sure of themselves.

A girl not feeling like they belong in sports as they get older is simply not an acceptable outcome.  Being confident that “they can” means a girl is less likely to give in and not do something they would likely enjoy regardless of their age.  Sports helps build skills like teamwork, communication, and work ethic that are essential well beyond the games.  Let’s all make sure we are sending the right messages that girls do belong so they walk away with valuable lessons for taking part in sports.  As a parent I understand that I should be the first one to send that message…verbally and visibly.

Enjoy this related video.


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American Kids Lag in Worldwide Fitness

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A study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that American kids lag in worldwide fitness tests.  More specifically, when compared to the fitness levels of kids in other countries, U.S. kids ranked 47 out of 50 participating countries.  The study measured aerobic fitness levels using what is referred to as a “beep” test.  Kids ran back and forth between two points until a beep occurs.

The last line of this article says that “it’s not a bad idea for mom and dad to get moving too”. This is indeed the real key.  This study focused on kids ages 9-17.  While JumpBunch programs do work with kids up to about age 12, historically most of our participants are 6 years old and under.  The point?  Healthy habits need to start early and need to be formed through the guidance of mom and dad (that’s the get moving part!).

Once a child gets to the teenage years, and really well before that, they begin to make their own choices about many things and certainly have opinions about everything!  Much of those choices and opinions are based on what was established for them in those early years.  That is when parents were laying the foundation for who they would become.  It can’t be said enough that parents simply need to make an investment to make sure that their kids see and have an opportunity to experience the positive things that come with being active.  Let’s be clear though.  An investment doesn’t have to be monetary.  It can be time planning activities with your kids or simply setting a good example in how you live your own life.  Good choices.  We all know that kids watch and imitate.

If you have an opportunity to be part of a JumpBunch or similar class and can afford it, there is no doubt that this kind of exposure can be a fun, happy way for kids to associate movement, activity, and sports with a healthy approach to life.  We’re not trying to build 5 year old sports stars, and that’s not your goal either.  This article makes a great point that American kids have some work to do.  The real work falls on the parents though.  Set an example, take the time to be involved, and choose to expose your children to things that positively shape their future rather than leaving that to chance.

Read the full article here.

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