By SIERRA HENRY, The Pantagraph (Bloomington)
BLOOMINGTON, In poor health. (AP) — Do you keep in mind the final time you performed exterior?
That was a query Gloria Lewis discovered herself asking shortly after transferring to Bloomington to be nearer to her mom following her husband’s retirement. At age 64, Lewis left her 40-year house in Chicago to an space the place she knew only a few individuals exterior of her household, The Pantagraph experiences.
Wanting to attach and meet different girls in her new neighborhood, Lewis determined to open a chapter of the Chicago-based 40-plus Double Dutch Membership in Bloomington to create an area for individuals in her age group to come back collectively, play video games and have fellowship.
“It’s serving to girls — all around the age of 40 and all around the world — enhance their bodily, religious and psychological well being via health, fellowships, and friendship,” mentioned Lewis. “It’s a software that’s designed to assist girls deal with the significance of sound our bodies and minds, particularly throughout this pandemic.”
Lewis has put a name out to girls over the age of 40 in Bloomington-Regular and Peoria space who may be concerned with getting collectively and enjoying all the identical video games they used to as children. That features Double Dutch, hand video games, hopscotch, jacks, line dancing, hula hooping and extra.
The concept is to spend an hour hanging out, exercising and coming collectively. Lewis mentioned she has heard from a number of people who find themselves within the group to date.
“I’ve been eager about it for months and months and months earlier than I put a discover out on Fb,” mentioned Lewis, who’s at present looking for a location to host membership conferences. “I used to be blown away by the response that I did get from girls that had been concerned with becoming a member of the membership.”
The 40-plus Double Dutch Membership bought its begin in Chicago in Might 2016 when Pamela Robinson was in an identical scenario as Lewis. Going via a divorce after 20 years of marriage and her youngsters transferring out of the home, Robinson was feeling misplaced.
However whereas reminiscing about childhood throughout a barbecue, a good friend reminded Robinson about how they used to leap rope and Double Dutch on a regular basis as younger women. Earlier than lengthy, Robinson was leaping rope within the yard like she was a child once more.
“I used to be going via a interval of questioning what my function was, and to be fully sincere, I used to be going via a melancholy,” mentioned Robinson. “I had been a spouse and mom for therefore lengthy, that’s how I outlined myself.
“I noticed within the time that I used to be leaping rope, it made me overlook about all of the factor occurring that was making me unhappy.”
The group began first with a small group of ladies from Robinson’s church who met as soon as per week to leap rope. However the membership actually started taking off after it was featured on an area TV information phase in 2019, rising from 50 Chicagoland girls to 1,000 girls throughout the globe in as soon as per week.
Sub-clubs quickly started popping up throughout the globe, every guided by Robinson and co-founder Catrina Dyer-Taylor. At the moment, there are 100 sub-clubs within the U.S., two in Canada and one every in Israel and Germany, with a mixed 30,000 members.
Final summer season, the group had its first in-person convention occasion with 250 girls becoming a member of collectively. Robinson mentioned the group is at present engaged on plans for its second occasion this summer season.
To Robinson, the group is extra than simply an train group. It’s a fellowship of ladies who come collectively and uplift one another.
“It’s one motion, one sisterhood, many areas,” mentioned Robinson. “We need to encourage different girls. Getting outdated doesn’t need to be dangerous!”
Lewis continues to be engaged on securing a location for an area sub-club of the group, however is open to speaking with anybody concerned with becoming a member of.
The membership doesn’t acquire dues or any charges, however members are requested to hitch the nationwide 40-plus Double Dutch Membership on Fb and buy an official T-shirt via the group that features the member’s final title and age. Lewis additionally anticipates taking part in volunteer work via the group.
“Proper now we’ve suspended indoor exercise for 2 weeks due to the omicron variant that appears to be taking on the land,” mentioned Lewis. “More often than not we’re assembly exterior on playground, in a parking zone, wherever we will discover some flat house the place we’re in a position to collect at.”
She added, “I feel the draw for doing it’s simply the concept of getting along with your pals and enjoying video games that you just performed as little women and forgetting that you just’re an grownup for some time.”
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