African-American Women Across the Country Find Community and ‘Peace of Mind’ with 40+ Double Dutch Club

Millions of African American girls remember growing up in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, going outside, and doing Double Dutch with their family and friends until the street lights came on.

Now, a 49-year-old woman is making national headlines for reintroducing the athletic, fun-filled jumping rope game responsible for uniting women nationwide.

“This was back in the day where we played outside,” Pamela Robinson told CBS News correspondent Nikki Battiste, as she fondly remembered Double Dutch as a child. “While the boys were playing basketball, we were jumping Double Dutch, jumping all day until the streetlights came on.”

Battiste asked her, “For young black girls, what did Double Dutch provide that other avenues didn’t?”

Members of the 40+ Double Dutch Club do an eight-person hand clapping exercise during a meetup. (Credit: John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)

She responded, “There was, like, a sense of community because girls would just get together and you form friendships with — sometimes you didn’t even have to know the girls you were jumping with because it was a commonality that we all shared.”

Today, thanks to Robinson, women over 40 in suburban Chicago are able to tap into that nostalgic feeling once again, and find a sense of harmony with other ladies through the 40+ Double Dutch Club.

“We put on old-school music and they’re singing, they’re dancing, we’re talking, and it’s just like old times,” said the founder.

Robinson told CBS This Morning that the idea came to her during a difficult life shift. “For a long time, I wasn’t really sure what my purpose was. I’m an empty-nester, and I’m going through a divorce right now. So I didn’t know what my purpose was, because I always felt like it was to be a great wife and mother,” she explained.

Searching for a place to toss her worries aside and fill up her time, she started the weekly Double Dutch meetups in 2016 in the hopes that others would share her passion.

Well, her hopes and dreams have come true. The club is now more than 6,000 members strong across the country and hosted its first annual Double Dutch party and convention last month.

Kandi Brown, a club member, said, “When you’re jumping, I’m not anyone’s mom. I’m not a business owner. I don’t have to do chores. I’m in a place where everything was simple. And it just feels good.”

Though Double Dutch is exciting and provides a great workout, it also gives the women something much more meaningful.

“What does Double Dutch give you that nothing else can?” Battiste asked.

“Peace of mind,” said Antoinette Marshall.

“Yeah, peace of mind — freedom,” Iesha Jackson, Marshall’s friend, said.

Robinson said, “I’m bringing all of these women together. And they are loving, not only each other, but the fact that they’re getting healthy and they’re enjoying themselves doing it.”

SOURCE: EEW Magazine – Janet Garrison