The Bouncing Bulldogs are an internationally renowned jump rope team based in Chapel Hill-Durham. They were invited to perform as a part of the school of public health’s celebration of National Public Health Week.
The group was given a plaque for being “Champions of Public Health.”
Jessica Southwell, a research associate at the N.C. Institute for Public Health, helped organize the event, which was attended by more than 100 students, professors and community members.
“We were trying to think of creative ways to get people involved with public health, and physical activity is a great way to do that,” she said of the decision to bring the Bulldogs to campus.
Coach Ray Fredrick Jr. has run the Bouncing Bulldogs for 28 years with a keen focus on the success and growth of his athletes, as well as spreading a message about the importance of exercise in a healthy lifestyle.
“If you jump rope three days a week for 10 minutes, you will stay in shape all year round,” Fredrick said.
Six young women represented the Bouncing Bulldogs at the event Wednesday, but the full team is made up of 140 young people from 25 schools and 19 countries.
“For the last three years, we’ve been out to Oklahoma City, and we’ve been working with Native Americans, who have a very high rate of Type 2 diabetes,” Fredrick said.
“Our kids have been going out there for the last three years to teach and help implement a curriculum to help those Native American students challenge — we don’t like to say fight — obesity.”
Anna Reeb, 16, a member of the Bouncing Bulldogs, said she values demonstrating fitness with teammates she considers her family.
“I think they brought us here to help inspire the students at UNC to see what jump rope is all about and to see how other people in the community are working to enhance the health and fitness in our community so that they can reach out to different parts of the world,” Reeb said.
Sarah Bird, a junior studying environmental public health, passed by the event as she was leaving class and stayed to watch.
“What we try to learn here is how to implement health into your daily life, especially when you’re growing up, and (the Bulldogs) are a great model of that,” Bird said.
Southwell said the school of public health needs partners like the Bouncing Bulldogs to achieve its goal of improving health in the state and throughout the world.
“We don’t just jump rope,” Fredrick said. “It’s way more than just jump rope.”