Go Ahead and Jump


by Pamela Kleibrink Thompson, photos by Mark Dyrud

When J.R. (Jack) Simplot passed away in 2008, part of his legacy was a collection of vintage tractors. He envisioned a museum but some of his family members had an even grander vision.

Inspired by the idea of human potential, the Simplot Family Foundation created a community gathering place where people can explore and share their passions, interests, and ideas. JUMP is an acronym for “Jack’s Urban Meeting Place.” The desire is for JUMP to honor the spirit of Jack—a pioneer, risk taker, and outside-the-box visionary—by giving all in the community opportunities for self-discovery.

“JUMP is a place where anything can happen,” smiles Maggie Soderberg, JUMP’s director. “We welcome all ideas. It’s a springboard to help the community to use their imagination.”

“JUMP provides opportunities for others to share, showcase, and inspire,” adds Kathy O’Neill, JUMP’s community engagement director. “It’s the ultimate place to meet your neighbors.”

JUMP is a playground of the imagination where people can connect with their neighbors, find inspiration, and experience the unfamiliar. JUMP is a place to discover new possibilities and to try things for the first time.

As soon as you walk through the entrance, you can sense the spirit of JUMP, a sense of wonder, of play, and of possibilities. A burst of color greets you at the JUMP exhibit, where you are encouraged literally to take a leap. Phrases over your head suggest: “Life is for leaping,” “Trust your crazy ideas,” and “Live what you love.”

JUMP offers a wide range of programs and events in its park and outdoor areas. The vintage tractors are displayed as examples of industrial art throughout JUMP’s lively community space. Boise visitors and residents can dine al fresco in JUMP’s Park amid vintage tractors, a five-story slide, a climbing structure, and a fountain of dazzling lights.

Open to the community, JUMP offers programming in five interactive studios. “Share” is a place of community, creativity, and cuisine where you can spice up your cooking skills. “Make” is a place of inspiration, invention, and engineering where you can design and develop your own creation. “Play” is a place where budding film makers learn to write screenplays, designers express themselves with digital media, and musicians record songs or create music videos headed up by studio manager Jesse Cordtz. “Move” is a place of action and excitement where you can engage in activities from yoga and fitness classes to performances and cultural dances from around the world. “Inspire” is a place of insight and innovation where you can share your passions, ideas, and dreams to make them a reality. McCale Ashenbrener is the Programs Manager.

A few upcoming class offerings at JUMP include:

! “JUMP into Go Pro” on July 6 and July 13 taught by Travis Bloedel, who shares, “I’ve been excited about shooting video and taking pictures from an early age. I have a drive for capturing stunning visuals and going to extreme places to get them. My goal is to build a great local company in Idaho and help individuals or companies stand out with innovative videos in an increasingly digital world.”

!“The Children’s Culinary Institute: Calzones” on July 9 taught by Rochelle Heathcock who says, “I believe that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.”

!“Build a Bristlebot Robot” on July 9 with instructors Steven Rodoletz and Glen Martin who are inspired by “the inquisitive and searching minds of children eager to learn how things work through experimentation.”

!“Everyday Meditations” beginning August 9 with Colleen Fletcher, whose passion is “guiding you along the way to living a full and thriving life.”

!“Action Camera Workshop” on August 27 with Lance Thompson and Rob Namer, who train peace officers in Idaho.

When Maggie was asked what Jack would have thought of JUMP, she replied with the eternal twinkle in her eyes, “I think he would have loved it.” Kathy adds, “He would love to feel that he contributed to other people’s laughter and success.”

Mary Ann Hurt, who volunteers at JUMP on Thursdays, sums it up. “I love this place,” she beamed. “I want to live here. It enlightens me. This place opens every door.”


If you are interested in teaching a program or class at JUMP, email programs@jumpboise.org.

Guided tours to explore JUMP are available every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 pm and 3 pm. One of the tour directors is Allie Talboy-Haller, JUMP’s Happiness Coordinator, who is also Volunteer Coordinator. Or learn more about the 53 antique tractors and steam engines at JUMP every Wednesday at noon with Rob Bearden, the Tractor Doctor. To sign up for a tour please call 208-639-6610.

If you have any questions please call 208-639-6610 or stop by the lobby from

10 am–3 pm Tuesday–Friday.

For information on tours, programs, and classes, visit www.JacksUrbanMeetingPlace.org

Sign up for JUMP’s newsletter at www.JumpBoise.org to receive announcements and project updates.



Contact Tracylea Balmer, Rentals & Events Manager at events@jumpboise.org to use JUMP’s unique spaces.

If you have talent to showcase, people to honor, inspirational or educational messages to share, the PIONEER ROOM’s projection and sound systems are without equal, and the adjacent catering kitchen is available to enhance your gathering.

The JUMP Room is a large space with two 17-foot front projector screens and minivan-sized interactive art pieces.

THE LOFT offers JUMP Park views and a private terrace.