Hula for hope: Students aim to help youth through hooping
World Hoop Day is about more than just hula hooping; it’s about promoting healthy lifestyles and raising money for charities.
For the sixth consecutive year, the Knoxville area will host World Hoop Day at Cove Park in Farragut on Saturday. On this same day, cities all over the world will have their very own World Hoop Day.
This event will consist of workshops for attendees to improve their hooping skills and donate funds. This donation will be sent to the World Hoop Day’s foundation, which provides underprivileged areas across the world with hoops and ambassadors to promote hooping.
Hannah Baker, co-organizer of Knoxville’s World Hoop Day, said it’s about more than just having fun.
“It serves two purposes,” said Baker, a senior majoring in studio art. “You know, on one hand all the hoopers in town can come and … it’s a time for us to hang out, have fun and eat together. But it’s also a time to give back to the community around us.”
Olivia Gross, a sophomore in social work who will be attending WHD, thinks the message behind this event gives her more incentive to go.
“Hula hooping is awesome,” Gross said, “but hula hooping to encourage healthy lifestyles among children makes it even better.”
Although many UT Hoopers have been in competitions for their talent, competitiveness is not something encouraged by WHD.
“It’s a group of people who aren’t there to compete with each other,” Baker said. “We’re not there to show each other up.
“We try to harbor good spirits and good emotions for everyone.”
The diversity of experience involved with hooping, according to Baker, is what makes it such a unique activity.
“Definitely expect some weird and interesting experiences because not only are there people that come to hoop but also people who bring other flow toys,” Baker said. “People bring all of their super fun toys and just come to dance and hang out. We have a lot of onlookers. Ninety percent of people haven’t seen what we do with hula hoops.
“So expect to be surprised.”
Last year, there were around 50 people at WHD. The event has grown every year and this year will not be any different, Baker said.
Gross said she thinks the idea of hooping with this many people seems like a rare opportunity.
“It would be extremely epic,” Gross said. “It would be something I could definitely say I never thought I’d do in my life.”
Baker’s UT Hoopers movement is also about showing people what hooping is all about.
“I’m trying to cultivate a general interest in movement arts,” Baker said. “A lot of people don’t understand it and don’t really know what it’s about. People should come and have fun. If you see us on campus please come up to us, please introduce yourself.
“We would love to be your friend.”