The Juggling and Unicycling Club is creating an atmosphere of fun and challenge for its members.
Teaching each other new skills and tricks is at the core of what the Juggling and Unicycling Club offers. The friendships made and life lessons learned are what keep the club tight-knit.
Club president Cole Reiman, junior in agricultural and life sciences education, has been juggling since he was a child. Reiman loved performing, and juggling was a unique outlet for him to perform. He became a member of the club as a student at Des Moines Area Community College before transferring to Iowa State. The environment of the club is what Reiman believes is so special.
“We’re creating that environment where it’s okay to not be great but just allowing that vulnerability of allowing others to teach you,” Reiman said.
Reiman recalled a practice weeks before when he looked up from what he was working on and saw three veteran members working with three new members. This is a common practice within the club: the older members teach the new.
“If someone in the club wants to learn how to do something, and someone else knows how to do it, we just build off each other,” Reiman said.
Hannah Clubb, freshman in genetics, knows firsthand how compassionate the club members are. Clubb said she started juggling just over a month ago.
“I went to the first practice and thought I was going to make a fool out of myself, and I was juggling three balls by the end of the night,” Clubb said.
The Juggling and Unicycling Club is a place Clubb can count on to be cheered up. She said the members can always find some way to put a smile on her face. She also notices the growth the club has given her outside of just learning a new skill.
“I don’t consider myself a dare devil by any means,” Clubb said. “But this definitely brings some of that out.”
Paul Scott, aged 56, has been a member of Juggling Club on and off since his time at Iowa State in the '80s. He views juggling as a way to give back to the community, performing with the club at events like the Ames Walk to End Alzheimer's, which took place earlier this year. Scott and other Juggling Club alumni also participate and perform in RAGBRAI each summer.
“It’s kind of like a reunion of old Iowa State Juggling Club people,” Scott said. “You’ll have a bunch of people who are old ISU Juggling Club members who have never met each other, but they can all juggle together.”
Scott connects juggling to many aspects of life. He said he views it as a metaphor for how to succeed.
“It teaches you a really important life lesson,” Scott said. “And that is, if you want to learn how to do something complicated, you have to break it down into pieces that are doable and then practice those pieces.”
The Juggling Club and its members are a connection Scott values as true friendship. He laughed as he said his kids are older than some of his best friends who are members of the Juggling Club.
Cameryn Schafer, freshman in pre-dietetics, was new to Juggling and Unicycling Club when she joined in early November. She came after Reiman asked if she wanted to learn how to unicycle. Unicycling is a way for Schafer to challenge herself at Iowa State.
“I really enjoy being at college, but I felt like I wasn’t stepping outside of my comfort zone enough,” Schafer said. “Learning how to unicycle would make me step outside of that comfort zone in a way I hadn’t before.”
Schafer realizes the club isn’t related to her major but sees value in it regardless.
“My friends will say, ‘Well, that doesn't apply to anything,’” Schafer said. “I say, ‘It doesn’t have to, it’s pushing me to do something new, and I’m scared of doing it, so that’s even more reason to do it.’”
The Juggling and Unicycling Club meets 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and 8 to 10 p.m. Thursdays in State Gym. Anyone from any skill set is welcomed to join in on the fun.