Not everyone lives in a Parkour mecca. It would be nice to live in a massive metropolis like New York or Toronto, with tons of jams and other Parkour events going on. Most of us don’t live in places like that. Sometimes, if you want a Parkour jam, you need to do it yourself.
Organizing a jam is one of the best ways to strengthen your local Parkour community. Not only will you meet other people from your area with common interests, you will give others a reason to try the sport.
The best way to improve your Parkour skills is to be part of a strong community, but sometimes you need to build that community yourself. Organizing jams and other events is not hard, but many people feel like they don’t know where to start. This article is a guide designed to help you understand how to organize a Parkour jam in your community.
Getting StartedBefore you do anything, you need to understand what you have to work with. Depending on where you live, there might already be a small Parkour community in place.
You should do some research to find out if there are any Facebook groups or websites dedicated to local Parkour. This is not hard and can be accomplished with a good search, such as “Parkour in [your community/city].”
Take your time with this, and do a good amount of research. It is best that you build on what is already in place. It is hard, but not impossible, to start everything from scratch, but we want to avoid that if at all possible.
The advice in this article will work regardless of whether there is a Parkour community in place. However, you will need be a little more outgoing if there is nothing to work with.
Start an Online PresenceIf there is an online Parkour community for your region, join them and speak to the moderators about your event or ideas. They will be happy to help you.
If there is no such community, you are going to need to build your own. Start simple, and don’t try to walk before you can run. Build a social media profile first, starting with Facebook and Twitter accounts.
You will need to find some images and choose a name for your group. The images can be Googled, and the name can be something as simple as “[Your region] Parkour [community, group, team, events, etc]. The name doesn’t need to be super creative, just something that lets others know there is a Parkour group for their location.
Getting the Word OutObviously, the first part of organizing a jam is getting the word out. You do not have the budget to place ads in a newspaper or online website, so you will need to do some legwork here.
If you are still in school – both university and high school count here – it would be a good idea to make some flyers and pass them around. Stand somewhere with a lot of traffic. Work the grounds during breaks, and go to athletic events to pass around your material.
If you are going to solicit at an event, make sure you have the permission of the hosts beforehand. Each school has different rules and regulations for on-ground solicitation, make sure you understand them so they do not shut you down.
Getting the word out requires a lot of work, and talking. If you are shy this might be the most difficult part for you, but you will need to do it if you want to host a good jam or build a strong community. There is no way around that. If there is no community in place, you need to let as many people know about your group as possible.
If you already have some friends who like Parkour, get them to join your Facebook group and make a call-to-action. In this case, a call-to-action means you and your friends each make Facebook posts linking to your new group and telling anyone interested to join.
Planning Your EventOnce you get the word out about your Parkour group, it is time to plan your jam. This is pretty simple: you need to pick a time and location.
You should already know several quality locations, so we are not going to cover that here. However, you do need to make sure you are allowed to host an event there. Hosting a jam is different than doing a run by yourself. You need to make sure your group is welcome at your chosen location. If it is public property, call your local city hall or municipal office. If it is private (like an outdoor arena or obstacle park), speak with the property owner – their information should be listed in your local directory.
It is best to schedule these events on weekend afternoons. That is when most people have time off and are available during the day.
Once you pick a time and place, you need to let everyone know about it. This is as simple as starting a Facebook event and inviting all the members of your community. You can also pass out flyers advertising your jam, complete with a link to your Facebook page for more information.
You also need to consider how many people you need for a good jam. This depends on the size of your community and your location. It is a good rule of thumb to invite about twice as many people as you need.
Many folks are flaky, and will RSVP events without any intention of coming. To ensure you have enough people, invite extra so no-shows don’t ruin your jam.
Finishing TouchesOnce you have built a solid online community and have your event page running, there are a few details left to remember. First, you need to list your contact information. Your phone number and an email address will do – if you want to look more professional, create a custom email address that includes the name of your group.
Next, you need to make it clear that everyone must sign a waiver beforehand. This might seem like a bit much, but you do not want someone suing you because they hurt themselves.
There are many websites with templates for liability waivers. Fill one of them out and print off enough for everyone.
You should also have a second location planned in case things don’t work out with your first choice.
Put Knowledge into PracticeBuilding a community and hosting Parkour jams is difficult and takes time. You will need to take a leadership role, and become comfortable organizing other people.
You might not get a lot of interest in the beginning, but keep working at it. The longer you work to build your community, the more people will start coming out of the woodwork to join your jams. Persistence is the key to success.