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Instructor Sher-Mon Clement demonstrates parkour May 9 at the Ada Boys and Girls Club. The club’s new Parkour Ninja Academy, which focuses on moving from one point to another and overcoming obstalces along the way, offers students a chance to stay active when school isn’t in session.

The Ada Boys and Girls Club is offering a new program for kids who want to stay active when school isn’t in session.

The club is midway through the first season of its Parkour Ninja Academy, which offers students a chance to enjoy activities such as climbing, jumping and flipping. Participants move from one point to another as efficiently as possible, overcoming obstacles along the way.

Parkour is not a traditional sport as much as an opportunity for students to challenge themselves athletically, said parkour instructor Sher-Mon Clement.

“Sports generally have competitions against each other,” he said. “But in parkour, the only person that you’re competing against is yourself. It’s self-improvement.”

Clement said when he was a substitute teacher in Ada schools, he saw students on recess running, jumping or flipping — in other words, practicing a form of parkour. He said he decided to give children a chance to enjoy parkour in a safe environment, which led him to start the Parkour Ninja Academy.

The program’s first season began April 2 and will end in late June, but a new season will start in the fall. The program is free to any student who joins the Boys and Girls Club by paying the $15 membership fee, which is good for the entire year.

Students are divided into three age groups: genin for ages 6-9, chunin for ages 10-12 and jonin for students age 13 through 17. The genin class has lessons between 6:15 and 7:45 p.m. Mondays, while the chunin class meets at the same time on Wednesdays and the jonin group gets together from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m. Fridays.

Students who have scheduling conflicts on any of those days may request another day that works better for them.

Participating students get a chance to try different obstacle courses, which have been set up at the Boys and Girls Club, and take field trips to places where they can practice their skills or learn new ones.

Clement said the students who are currently taking parkour classes are enjoying the chance to learn something new.

“I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback that this class does stuff outside of anything that the students have ever done before, that the students have done things that they didn’t think they could possibly do beforehand,” he said.

Application forms are available at the Boys and Girls Club, 915 S. Hickory St. in Ada, or online at www.bgcada.com. Completed forms may be emailed to okadaparkour@gmail.com.

For more information, call (405) 306-3245 or email okadaparkour@gmail.com.

Eric Swanson can be contacted by email at eswanson@theadanews.com.

Eric Swanson is the City Hall and general assignment reporter for The Ada News. He spent 15 years working at the Dodge City Daily Globe in Dodge City, Kansas, before joining The Ada News’ staff in 2012.