Name: Kathy O’Neill

Title: Community Engagement Director

Organization: JUMP (Jack’s Urban Meeting Place) in Boise, Idaho

Whose idea was it to open JUMP and how was the name selected?

The story begins with J. R. (Jack) Simplot, an Idaho entrepreneur who was a model of the pioneering spirit, of taking risks and thinking outside the box. J. R. passed away in 2008, leaving behind his legacy and an astounding collection of vintage tractors. While deciding what to do with these tractors, a new idea emerged. Instead of building a typical tractor museum, which would likely be underutilized, we decided to build JUMP, a lively community space.

While JUMP is a metaphor for explorative play, it is also an acronym for Jack’s Urban Meeting Place. Our desire is for this place to honor Jack by giving our community opportunities to continue to inspire, grow and innovate. The name was selected after much discussion, but eventually became an acronym named after J.R. Simplot.

As a finishing touch—or really, as what began it all—we put in a collection of Jack’s vintage tractors as an explorative museum exhibit that showcases the innovation and imagination of the generations before us comingling with the ideas that are moving us forward.

Tell me about JUMP’s programs and offerings.

At JUMP, we are all about trying something new, taking risks and stepping out of your comfort zone. By doing this, we hope that people will find that one thing that they are truly passionate about. Although many of the programs are facilitated by our JUMP Team, we invite everyone to share their passions and talents with the community.

Why is it especially important these days for individuals and groups to discover new possibilities and explore their potential?

We believe that this type of environment is not a luxury, but a necessity. As our culture moves rapidly into new challenges and opportunities, and as we become more disconnected due to social media, we need a place to imagine, innovate, adapt, explore and connect.

As Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” We need to do this together. JUMP is an invitation for people to learn and grow together, which is important because it sparks our imagination, enriches our lives and unleashes human potential.

Tell me briefly about each of the different studios and the specific function of each one.

The Inspire Studio is a place of innovation, creativity and inspiration, a place where people can bring their dreams, ideas and beliefs to share with others and make them a reality. Our Make Studio is for creativity, innovation and engineering—where builders, tinkerers, inventors and creators can work together to create their next prototype, hack things open to see how they work, or design and develop their own brand-new creations. In the Move Studio, people of any age and experience can come together to engage in all kinds of physical activities, ranging from yoga and fitness classes to performances and cultural dances from around the world.

Our Play Studio is a place of magic, creativity and imagination—where budding filmmakers, musicians, and designers of all kinds can express themselves through our digital media platforms. The Share Studio is for experimentation, indulgence and community—master and amateur chefs alike can try a new recipe, discover a new favorite dish or compete against each other in a multitude of culinary competitions.

Tell me how JUMP is beneficial to meeting groups, in particular.

At JUMP, we believe having fun is serious business. Whether your objective is team building, connecting or just sharing lots of laughs, we will create a program to ensure optimal enjoyment and value. We offer JUMP Experiences, customized programs for groups to sample the best elements of JUMP.

What makes your team-building exercises successful, and what do you avoid?

Getting outside of the boardroom and into our colorful, vibrant, interactive studios and spaces takes people back to the playground, where true and lasting relationships were naturally built. When we play together, we create those moments that we remember forever and build lifelong relationships.

In addition to our warm, welcoming and playful building, we’re also fortunate to have our amazing Surprise & Delight Team, which facilitates these programs and ensures that fun is had by all. We avoid lectures and being talked to by “experts,” and focus on hands-on, participatory programs that build connections.