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Double Dutch Delight: Saratoga County kids jump into three day program

Ms. K's Swagga J
Aaron Shellow-Lavine
Ms. K's Swagga Jumpers helping Saratoga County kids Double Dutch

It’s a busy afternoon at Gavin Park, where kids from all over Saratoga County have been learning how to Double Dutch for two days.

It’s part of a program put on by Saratoga County’s Department of Aging and Youth Services to give kids a chance to get active during their spring break.

An April snowstorm has forced 70 kids inside, but Youth Program Coordinator Rebecca Robarge says it didn’t slow anyone down.

“You know some could just pop in—jump in for a little bit of time, literally, and pick up a skill so quick. They truly have skills and techniques to turning those ropes that allow them to be successful so they can, in a moment’s notice, follow someone else’s lead jump in and if they mess up, everybody just yells, ‘one more time, keep going, don’t quit, try again.’ So, it’s really been cool to see them pull together as a team,” said Robarge.

For Robarge the success of the program isn’t just measured in how many kids she gets up and moving.

“You see them jumping out of their seats hugging each other, they’re high-fiving one another. And again, whether they knew each other before they started, they’re all on the same team today,” said Robarge.

This final day of the program includes a variety of Double Dutching competitions. The group is split into two teams and individuals also perform their own choreography.

Before her final performance, 5-year-old Eva and mom Denise Swedish go over her routine one last time.

“Froggy jumps… forward rolls,” said Eva Swedish.

Mom clarifies.

“She does a froggy jump on her hands and feet and then into a forward summersault and then continues to jump Double Dutch,” said Swedish.

Eva Swedish finishes first in her age group for her amphibious acrobatics.

Iinstructor Kyaisha Max-Macarthy, known by her students as Ms. K, came up from Brooklyn to run the program.

At the end, with a very grateful middle schooler wrapped around her waist in a hug, Max-Macarthy says she couldn’t be happier.

“This is something that is a passion of mine. Everywhere I go I try to teach whoever that’s willing to learn. So this, for them to be willing to learn, try, not quit, and me be able to just motivate them, means the absolute world. This is how I want to be remembered, ‘that lady taught me how to jump Double Dutch, she made me overcome some challenges, she gave me an opportunity to just shine.’ That’s literally just it,” said Max-Macarthy.