By: Loretta Gallant
Once again hooping has changed my life for the better. After hooping for two years, I feel healthier. Flexibility, endurance and grace have been gained. Socially, attending hoop jams, workshops and classes has introduced me to many new hooping relationships which I greatly value. Creativity in all parts of my life has blossomed through hoop practice.
All these benefits are a gift, but the greatest gift I have received from hooping is my recent involvement with MARC (an agency providing life services for developmentally disabled adults) in Key West.
Last year, through the Maine Hoopers 30/30 Inspiration FaceBook page, I was intrigued by a post by Teresa-Eric Fleming. My curiosity was aroused by where she works, The Therapy Place, Inc in South Carolina. Teresa also runs hoop jams for “uniquely abled”children, called The Therapy Place Hoopers-in-Motion.
After much encouragement and lots of advice from Teresa, I decided to bring hooping to the MARC clients. This was doing something out of my comfort zone and only with Teresa’s lovely words of wisdom would I have done this.
MARC said we would start out with 5 or 6 clients, but as any hooper would do, I brought all 17 of my hoops; huge heavy weighted, polypro and minis, all but the LED. I am so glad I did as every single hoop was used! I never counted but I think there were 10 clients, and the second jam had even more attendees! Everyone was moving, even the staff joined us! By the end of the first session, a couple of the clients could waist hoop, some could hoop a mini on their arm and others were able to grasp a hoop in their hand.
The “learning” process is quite different from teaching an adult ed class, but through observation and patience you can figure out what is needed. It is all about the fun! Heavy huge hoops worked out the best, so I made and donated some. This week I’ll show the staff how to make their own. The clients, in spite of the daily obstacles they encounter, are delightful. I was impressed by the way they encouraged each other. They showed no judgment. There was no competition, just support, concern and consideration for one another. They were joyful.
I have been blessed by this experience. It is exhausting to try to attend to everyone’s hooping needs and limits at the jam, but you leave on a high. It is a blast.
Afterwards, I return home and grab a hoop for some reflective time. It is then , in the quiet solitude of the hoop, that I weep, not for sadness or pity, but for the gratefulness that overflows my heart.
It is a privilege to be involved with these special people and the lessons they teach me.
It is yet another gift my hoop has given me.
I would encourage everyone to find an organization to spread the Hoop Love. If you don’t have a lot of time, just do what you can; one hour a week for a month, then teach the staff how to continue the jams. With budget cuts, most organizations would welcome a new program that benefits their clients, whether it’s developmentally or physically disabled persons, teenagers at risk, after school programs.
Loretta Gallant is self employed and lives in midcoast Maine. She teaches adult ed hooping classes and is very active in the hooping community. She and her husband live and work in the Florida Keys for three months in the winter where daily hooping outside in sunshine is her therapy. She finds her lifeforce in the hoop and is grateful to be able to share it with others.