Jill McMahon, Owner
The seed for Kids Movement Project was planted in childhood, when I spent most of my free time being active outdoors with neighborhood friends. The true inspiration came after having my two boys, Finn and Henry. Finn was a little bundle of energy that never stopped moving. We were always looking for creative ways to help him burn off energy. Things got challenging when he started kindergarten and would come home from school like a caged animal. So much sitting, not enough time for play. He wasn't yet interested in organized sports, but the boy had to move. He was also a social creature who was more excited about movement opportunities when they involved other kids. As a person who had spent most of my life in dance studios and on sports fields, I was a firm believer in the connection between movement and well being. I also wanted to create programs where my boys could be active with other kids, purely for the goal of moving and having fun.
So in 2014, I founded KMP, with the plan of partnering with the Portland Public Schools to offer school based movement programs. Through residencies, I taught a class called MOVE that incorporated active games, yoga and hip hop dance. I also offered a morning, outdoor movement program and after school running clubs. At the same time, I co-founded a studio in Portland's West End, adjacent to the Rosemont Nursery School where I was teaching at the time. At the studio, I taught kids yoga and family MOVE classes. My entrepreneurial adventure took many twists and turns as I constantly looked for new ways to create exciting opportunities for kids to be more active. I also realized, that teaching indoors, was not my calling. I craved the freedom and inspiration of outdoor spaces.
When the idea for bike club came to me, things started to fall into place. I realized that I wanted to be outdoors more and that kids naturally felt the same way. I knew if I added bikes to the equation, kids would come. My husband Tim and I bought our house next to Baxter Woods and Evergreen Cemetary, which provide endless trails for all levels of bikers. I had always imagined programs happening there. My son Henry gravitated towards nature based activities, so I felt like this was a way to fill the needs of both of my kids. Baxter Bike Club took off and I quickly recognized the magic of combining active movement with my other true love, the outdoors. Next was Baxter Skate Club, which brought families to various locations in Portland for pond hockey. It became clear to me that families were looking for creative ways to get their kids outdoors.
In the summer of 2020, my boys and I set out to hike the entire list of 37 Portland Trails during the pandemic. This evolved into the creation of the KMP Blog and Trail Challenge. I am so energized by the adventure of exploring new trails and sharing the information with you! My hope is that it provides inspiration for active, outdoor adventures with your own family.