Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have nothing but praise for the local company that just donated an outdoor trampoline to the community youth outreach program. We needed sports equipment but this was certainly unexpected. It was a novel surprise, but I am sure that the kids will enjoy using it, once the learn the ropes. The donor knows something I don’t about the popularity of these devices. I volunteered to put it together which took me an entire day. I read the manual attached to the rim and followed the instructions to the letter. Somehow it wasn’t as tight as I wanted. I wasn’t about to let any child set foot on the mat until it was taut enough to hold me. It was a quality product for both adults and youth and I consulted the height and weight chart to be sure. None of my kids fell outside the required range. So, it was onward to eventual success!
I also went over the safety features several times and even went online to see what is suggested for public use. This web site (https://www.trampolinechoice.com/put-trampoline-together/) warns users of several things: kids do not take precautions and they often like to jump alone. They try things that are too advanced This is not a good practice. Have an adult or teen on hand as a spotter. Make sure you instruct everyone in the group on basic techniques that will avoid injury when done properly. I was a bit intimidated at this point and I was already hassled by failing to put the darn thing together properly the first time. I remedied the situation with the help of one of the dads who works in a gym.
The trampoline, once ready and in place, was a huge hit in the youth program and the kids were lining up to try it out. I had to force the children to stop at cut off time. At first, I insisted that they perform basic moves before progressing to something harder. They had to prove to me their balance was good enough to keep them from falling over the side or hitting their heads. No one wanted to don an ugly helmet. Everyone could jump up and down, but it took time for most to learn the tuck jump, the pike and straddle, the half and whole twist, and the seat landing forward and back. In time, we would try jumping in pairs, called double jumping, and would move on to catching each other from the back. It was fun to propel someone forward multiple times. The whole experience was an eye opener. It wasn’t long before the parents came to watch. They didn’t expect to supervise because I was there; they wanted to see what their child has been ranting and raving about—in a positive way.
Let me encourage any leaders of youth groups to get a trampoline for amusement and exercise. It is a great way to strengthen muscles and also burn off steam. Kids need an outlet and this is an ideal choice.