A new Junior Cotillion club has come to Cleveland that has many parents excited about a renewed emphasis on good manners and proper etiquette for youths.
Dawn Jumper, an etiquette consultant from Chattanooga, said she decided to open a Cotillion club in Cleveland due to popular demand and a growing need in today’s society for a return to proper rules of conduct and courtesy.
“I have a Cotillion program on Signal Mountain and one in Chattanooga,” Jumper explained. “Some parents whose children go to a private school and others who have friends of friends who participated in my programs have called and actually requested a program in Cleveland. So it was something I started looking into to see if there was enough of a demand for it and it is. Cleveland is such a wonderful community and a great spot to expand to.”
According to Jumper, proper etiquette is more important in this day and age than ever before. The wife and mother of three said “I read a study that said young people are spending 7 to 8 hours a day in front of a screen — that’s television, an iPad or a smartphone. That’s time that used to be spent with others. So now, they are losing that important practice of developing a rapport, understanding the importance of eye contact, how to make polite conversation when meeting someone new — even little things like how to show respect for adults. I think our young people aren’t getting that important practice in their everyday lives. Yet, it’s more important than ever before because it’s a great way to distinguish yourself — whether in a classroom or in the workplace.”
Jumper said youths can suffer from a lack of confidence when they meet someone face-to-face due to so much interaction through texting and emails.
“What’s sad is that young people aren’t confident. They don’t feel prepared for certain situations and more importantly, for work situations. That’s my goal — to build their confidence and help them live more intentionally — to put more thought into their behavior. Then they can navigate their everyday lives with more self-assurance.” Jumper said.
The program is designed for seventh- and eighth-graders for a specific reason, according to Jumper.
“In middle school students are really starting to expand,” Jumper said. “They’re spending more time with their friends, in other people’s homes, they might be involved in a youth group and they’re traveling. There’s a lot of leadership opportunities that are coming to them in middle school. It also prepares them for high school which is right around the corner. My goal with the Junior Cotillion program is to provide a socially safe atmosphere for them to learn with their peers.”
Jumper, who graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in psychology and marketing, has developed workshops and classes on accepted behavior for students in middle school through College.
“I travel to college campuses and teach subjects like ‘Netiquette,’ which is a relatively new term,” Jumper said with a smile. “It’s a marriage of etiquette and the Internet — Netiquette. I touch on that in our Junior Cotillion classes. Cellphone etiquette is the no. 1 etiquette-related complaint in the United States, which we can all relate to.
“Because I am a parent I understand the situation young people are in today. The golden rule of cellphone use today is that you don’t ignore the person you’re with so they don’t feel left out. It used to be ‘Do not use your cellphone when you’re with others.’ But that is not practical anymore. So I’ve had to evolve my teaching to using discretion. We have to evolve with the times. Today, a girl can call a boy, whereas that was unacceptable in the 18th century. The cornerstone today, as in the 18th century, is still the same — being considerate of others, paying attention to who you’re with and making them feel important.”
“I also think it’s important for parents to point out behaviors that they want their children to model. It’s great to say, ‘I really like how the babysitter took the initiative and introduced herself. Did you see how she shook hands? That’s really impressive.’ So, just making children aware of what does impress adults and what’s courteous behavior is so important.”
Recent studies by Harvard University, The Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Institute indicated that 85 percent of future success depends on having strong social skills, including the ability to put another at ease, with only 15 percent attributed to technical skills.
Jumper’s classes are conveniently arranged for Sunday afternoons with a schedule that promises to be fun, educational and inspiring, according to Jumper, who have been teaching etiquette-related classes and Junior Cotillions for five years in the Chattanooga area.
“I’m so excited to be in Cleveland this year,” Jumper said. “I personally lead all lessons and I’m assisted by student leaders from high school and college who serve as role models and helpers.”
Sunday 1- Topics: The Seven Ingredients of a Great Introduction and The Art of Conversation (includes cellphone manners)
Sunday 2- Topics: Courtesies that Count — Thank you notes and Invitations, Being a Gracious Guest and Host
Sunday 3- Topics: “Netiquette” Basics (email, texts and social media) & First Impressions
Sunday 4- Topics: Table Manners
Sunday 5- The Winter Ball Dinner Dance — a fun-filled night with dinner, dancing and party games. This festive event gives students an opportunity to practice their Junior Cotillion learning and celebrate new friendships.
Social Dance Instruction: Dances include The Electric Slide, The Cupid Shuffle, The Waltz, Swing and Shag. Partners are randomly assigned and rotate throughout the class. No one is left out.
Jumper said, “My goal is that students learn that dancing is a fun way to socialize. You don’t have to be a perfect dancer to enjoy dancing. Dance etiquette — how to ask a girl to dance, how to accept, how to end a dance, etc. — is taught while we have fun on the dance floor together.”
For further information or to register, visit: firstname.lastname@example.org.