Rope skipping offers physical, emotional and social benefits to Calgary team

Competitive rope skipping might have winners and losers, but according to a few members of the Calgary Skip Squad, there are rarely hard feelings at the end of it all.

“It is competitive — but it’s not like other sports, where it’s competitive but you don’t want to talk to other people [after it’s done],” said Abby Boudreau, a Calgary Skip Squad member who’s in Grade 8.

Grade 8 student Abby Boudreau says the competition in skip jumping is friendly. (Monty Kruger/CBC News)

“(In) the sport of jump rope you get socialized. Everybody’s all friends. We just get along really nice,” she added, in an interview with CBC News.

Boudreau is part of the competitive side of Skip Squad Calgary, one of three different rope-skipping clubs in Calgary, and one of a dozen across the province.

There’s also a recreational side of jump roping — for kids between six and 12-years-old — where all the double dutches, wheel events and triple unders are executed purely for fun and fitness.

However, for Skip Squad coach Carla Hill — who started as a Grade 3 student in Whitehorse, Yukon — jumping rope gave her an identity as she moved from one corner of the continent to another over the span of more than 30 years.

Carla Hill started jumping rope in Grade 3 in Whitehorse, Yukon. (Monty Kruger/CBC News)

That journey took Hill from Whitehorse to participating as a Grade 5 student in the world championships in Juneau, Alaska, where her team finished second in the world, followed by the family relocating to Nova Scotia, then New Brunswick, before Hill, as an eight-year-old, headed west to Calgary, where she helped launch the Skip Squad — way back in 1989.

“So about 30 years,” Hill said.

What has she gotten out of jumping rope for close to four decades?

“Confidence. Self-esteem. Dedication. Hard work. Commitment. Physical exercise. Good for your heart. Great for your training. Great for your muscles and your bones. Great for building bone mass as well.

“Great for your friendships and travelling all over the world,” she added.

Halle Borden likes being a part of the Skip Squad because it gives her social opportunities she missed out on as a homeschooled student. (Monty Kruger/CBC News)

Social opportunity

For Halle Borden, a Skip Squad team member, the appeal of rope jumping is as much emotional as it is physical.

“It’s a good way to interact with people, and because I’m home schooled, I don’t get the [same] socialization [opportunities] as school kids do — so skipping has given me friends that I wouldn’t otherwise have,” Borden said.

Olympic dreams

Skip jumping is still largely a volunteer-run sport, driven by the support of neighbourhood parents, but there has been thought given to finding a way for the sport to step up — namely, by becoming an Olympic sport, although the earliest that Rope Skipping Canada board chair Erin Gillespie (who also coaches the Connectivity Skippers of Leduc, Alta.) sees that happening is 2028 in Los Angeles.

In the meantime, Gillespie said in an August interview with the Canadian Press, competitive rope skipping will rise and fall on the energies of local clubs such as the Skip Squad.

“Rope Skipping Canada lacks the fundamental resources to promote the sport across the country, and so we’re really relying on clubs,” said Gillespie.

“But the clubs also don’t really have the resources to market and promote.”

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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.


Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

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