Phyllis Bryant, 14, spends her afternoons jumping double dutch while doing cartwheels, flips or using hula hoops.
Bryant hopes that all the hard work will win her a return trip to New York next spring to compete in the World Invitational Meet for double-dutch jumpers.
Last year Bryant was among 1,200 students who participated in the Greater Washington D.C. Area Double Dutch League. Then she was among 29 students who went to the international competition in New York.
The community services division of the D.C. police department sponsors the local double-dutch league and the trip to New York. While Bryant practices, community service officers are out trying to raise $30,000 needed to keep the double-dutch program going and to pay for next spring's New York trip.
So far, they have raised $6,500. Washington-area McDonald's restaurants have pledged to donate $5,040 worth of rule books and ropes.
In the past, corporations such as Mobil Oil and McDonald's have sponsored the trip. But McDonald's abruptly stopped its funding in March, three months before this year's New York competition, said Officer Janice Roddy, one of the coordinators of the double-dutch league. The fast-food chain had decided to use the funds to help finance a national advertising campaign, she said.
The police coordinators are writing letters and, in many instances, hand-delivering them to businesses, corporations and local community organizations asking for donations.
"It really is difficult to always beg . . . but it seems that's all we do," Roddy said. "Donations are the whole program and if we get the money to go New York, it will be donated. We have no police budget at all."
"What we need is ongoing financial support or sponsors," added Officer Montgomery Gardner, chairman of the double-dutch league.
Double dutch, which requires two ropes rotated in a circular egg-beater fashion, has been a popular pastime for inner-city youngsters and teen agers for years. But it was only recognized as an official sport in the late 1970s, after a New York City police officer organized competitive teams as part of the police-sponsored youth programs in that city.
The local league now has 190 teams with 1,200 participants. Its projected budget for the 1984-1985 year is approximately $30,000, or $10,000 more than the amount spent two years ago, Gardner said.
"The budget is larger this year because we're looking at larger participation, and equipping these schools," he said. "We have a lot of schools that aren't in the program . . . this year, we want to invite them and all the surrounding jurisdictions of Maryland and Virginia."
The money will be used to buy uniforms for students.