The Care and Feeding of Jams


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What's that I see? Sunshine - muddy feet - open-hearted park sitters - jam jam jam time is here!! Time to use public space for play, for relaxation, for GROWING! We have a solid jamming tradition here in the big smoke, and I'm here to give some tips on how to keep it strong! First off - big big thanks to those who have stepped up to organize east and west end jams this year - Mandy, Elana, Morgan, Sara, Arno, and Naoise.  Thanks so much for keeping the free-flowing free-spirited practice flowing!  Thanks  also goes out to those who come join us in the park - we love having your unique wiggle! After watching jams grow over the last 6 years (starting with 4 people sharing 2 hoops) I seem some etiquette that helps jams flourish and helps keep the park happy to have us around!  We are fortunate to be able to gather in clean, public, free parks and keeping a jam healthy is something that every member helps with.   Here are some things YOU can do to keep the jams going strong - Welcome. Jams are open to hoopers and not-yet-hoopers. We all need to welcome strangers into the group, this is what keeps our community going, and what keeps the surrounding community happy to see us. It doesn't matter how long you've hooped, how many times you've been to jam, or how many people you know.  Introduce yourself! Spend a few minutes of your jam looking around for curious onlookers or wandering hoopers, and invite them to join. Often, these strangers are wanting to join, too nervous (or awe-struck!) to ask. A simple "come join us!" can turn a pensive passerby into a giggling friend. - Teach. Take a few minutes to share what you know with someone who wants a little guidance. It doesn't matter how long you've been hooping or who is hooping next to you, everyone has something to offer and something to learn. If you "only" know how to hoop on your waist (which is a big achievement for non-hoopers) then teach one of the newcomers to hoop, and don't give up until they've got it! Share their laughter and ecstasy of their breakthru moment.  When you teach, you learn more deeply - a good strategy for balanced learning is teach your newest move before you learn the next. - Spread the word. Bring a friend to jam, post on the facebook groups about how you loved last weeks' jam, tell your coworkers! There are lots of hoopers hiding in the city, thinking they're alone or excluded. Welcome them! - Bring what you can. Bring an extra hoop or two, knowing that there will be an extra one there for you on the day you can't bring your own. Bring your biggest bottle of water, your snackiest snacks and warmest hoodie, and throw a few tunes on your music player to share. - Respect the hoops. Keep all the hoops on the grass, away from concrete and asphalt. If a hoop has wandered off on it's own (or with the aid of a 6 year old) bring it back to the main area. Do not allow hoops to be used for hitting or dragging. - Respect the park. Let's do our best to be a positive influence on the park - take a look around and do what you can to support the park environment. Take a few minutes to clean up the garbage (including the pieces that were there at the start) invite the picnicers to join in the fun, and make sure that music is relaxed and loud enough for just the spinners. Keep intoxicants out of sight and look around to make sure we are kind to the grass, the trees, and the infrastructure. - Respect the flow. There is a special energy that forms when whirling vortexes share space, uninterrupted by speech. If someone is blindfold, eyes closed, or obviously in a flow state, let them finish before you speak to them.
- Enjoy! Jams filled with people who want to be there are the most fun and the most powerful community force! Let those smiles come out and play! Current Jam Schedule East end – Every Tuesday 6:30-9pm at Withrow Park, starting May 1st West end – Every Wednesday 6-8pm at Christie Pits Park, starting May 9th plus our weekly indoor all-dancing no-talking jam: Mondays 8:45-10pm at Dovercourt House plus!  special Victoria Day jam on Monday May 21st, 6-10pm at Dovercourt House

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