jr stomp wars 1 Through The Lens: Jr. Stomp Wars

(credit: CBS 11 NEWS)

Aside from watching the movie Stomp the Yard I didn’t know much about stepping, but being a drummer of sorts I have always liked the rhythm that step teams produce while stomping, clapping and slapping during their routine.

Today’s story took to me to a A.W. Brown Leadership Academy in south Dallas to watch their step team practice for this weekends Jr. Stomp Wars.

I was very impressed with the group of well-mannered and polite sixth grade boys who are a part of the Golden Sigma Eagles mini-fraternity. They are preparing to defend their title at the competition and are hoping for a three-peat.

Radio DJ Rocky Turner (a.k.a Rock-T) from 97.9 The Beat’s Ricky Smiley Morning Show started the Rock-T Youth Foundation that aims to inspire youth to become successful achievers and leaders in their community. Six years ago he started a high school step competition called Stomp Wars. The competition was so popular that junior high students wanted to participate also, so he gave them their own competition.

The upcoming competition will host about 350 kids from around the country at the Black Academy of Arts and Letters in the Dallas Convention Center. The kids not only participate in the step show but have a teen summit where they are given a curriculum that helps guide them to being better leaders and build better self character.

jr stomp wars 2 Through The Lens: Jr. Stomp Wars

(credit: CBS 11 NEWS)

Youngsters are taught discipline and teamwork as well as the importance of giving back to their community through service projects and fundraising, all while having fun and performing with their team on stage.

All the boys told me stepping was a form of expression. Looking at their faces and how much they enjoy stepping, it must be a happy expression. Being a 40-year-old white guy who can’t dance, I’ll just have to find another way to express myself. Good luck to all the team this weekend. I’m sure it will be a blast for everyone involved.

Mike Kinney