Bouncing Back On The Scene
By Brandon Bosworth
The earliest trampoline parks opened in late 1959 on the U.S. west coast. Within a few months, there were trampoline parks throughout the country. However, what goes up must come down, and by the summer of 1960 the trampoline park fad was pretty much over.
Fast-forward about 50 years to the first decades of the 21st century. In this age of video games and virtual reality, trampoline parks are on the upswing. The industry has grown from 40 parks in 2011 to more than 1,000 parks worldwide by the end of 2017.
One of those trampoline parks is right here on Oahu. iTrampoline Hawaii first opened its doors in 2013 in Kapolei then moved to its current location in Waipahu in 2018. The facility features 14,000 square feet of trampoline space as well as a party and lounge area with free Wi-Fi and an arcade area with rides, games and massage chairs.
“We offer a lot of things,” said operations manager Kelsey Lewis II.
There are three main trampo-line areas. One is an open area for guests to just jump around and have fun. Another allows would-be Michael Jordans to practice their slam-dunk skills playing basketball on a trampoline. The third is for dodgeball. “It’s the most popular with kids,” Lewis said, adding that most trampoline parks will have some sort of setup for dodgeball. “We split up dodgeball teams by size and age. Sometimes we give out prizes to the players.”
Safety is a major focus at all trampoline parks, and iTrampoline takes steps to keep its guests safe and injury-free. All jumpers have to wear grip socks, which can be rented or purchased. Jumpers must remove watches and jewelry and empty their pockets. Back flips, headfirst dives and other risky actions are not allowed. Monitors are always on hand to enforce these policies.
“People sometimes complain there are too many rules,” Lewis said, “but those rules are for them, so they can have fun without being hurt.” He added that while there have been very few serious injuries at iTrampoline, there are processes in place in the event someone is injured. Any major incidences are reported to its insurance company.
Besides the trampolines, other on-site activities include video games and mini-golf. iTrampoline also hosts parties and other events. There are three party packages available. People are allowed to bring their own food, but not their own beverages. Coolers are also banned. “This is to keep liquor out,” Lewis said. “We want to remain family-friendly. We don’t want people becoming intoxicated around kids.”
Some of the events iTrampoline has facilitated required a bit more work. “We’ve hosted MMA (mixed martial arts) fights,” Lewis said. “They even brought in an Octagon.”
On any given day, iTrampoline has both check-in attendants and monitors on duty. Checkin attendants deal with financial transactions and welcoming guests, while monitors work to keep everyone safe.
“Monitors go through a thorough orientation and on-the-job training,” Lewis said. “New monitors will shadow an experienced monitor for a few days before going on their own. Same goes for checkers.” He adds that from these positions, employees have the opportunity to move up into management.
When it comes to potential employees, Lewis said iTrampoline looks for “high-energy individuals with bubbly personalities and a willingness to learn.” He also stressed attention to detail. Because of safety concerns, iTrampoline staff needs to “be able to scold customers in a positive way.”
Most iTrampoline employees are in high school or college. Lewis said the company wants to give them plenty of useable work experience. “Maybe this is your first job,” he said, “but it won’t be your last job.”
In the coming months, iTrampoline looks to upgrade its air conditioning system and add more attractions. “We’re hoping to diversify and be more than just a trampoline park,” Lewis said. “We want to be a true adventure park.”
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COMPANY: iTrampoline Hawaii
LOCATION: 94-157 Leoleo St., Waipahu
OPERATIONS MANAGER: Kelsey Lewis II
YEAR OPENED: 2013
EMPLOYEE BENEFITS: Medical, paid holidays, overtime, 401(k)