Many parents face the dreaded problem of trying to get their children active and excited to exercise.

Sometimes, sports options can seem limited or children show no interest in the usual choices.

The Savannah Derby Devils may have the solution to your problem - as long as your child is a girl, age 10-17 and looking for some fierce fun on skates.

"Once you put on those skates ... it's easy to forget it's exercise because it's so much fun," said Dana Bynum, business manager and former skater for Savannah Derby Devils.

"(Roller derby) is a sport that is empowering for women - mentally and physically," Bynum said. "It's also about challenging the stereotypes we have about women ... and it's been so exciting to bring a junior team under our wing with that mission in mind."

Bynum is speaking about the Savannah Jr. DerbyTaunts, a little sister league of the Savannah Derby Devils, an apprentice member of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association.

The Derby Devils formed the group in 2012, and the DerbyTaunts are members of the Junior Roller Derby Association and follow rules and standards set by WFTDA.

"The current group is coached by retired Derby Devils skater Sarah Hurst, a.k.a. Lizzy Gored'em," Bynum said. "She spent four years with the Savannah Derby Devils and she's a competitive skater."


What: Meet-and-greet for Savannah Jr. DerbyTaunts

When: 2-4 p.m. July 21

Where: Garden City Gym, 160 Priscilla Thomas Way

Cost: Free


Bynum also said the DerbyTaunts completed their first public scrimmage last month.

"It was so great watching them be competitive and work as a team," she said. "We saw the parents looking at each other and say, 'Wow, my kid just did that!'"

Bynum said with a laugh. "Even though it's an aggressive sport, the girls really learn about teamwork and we work really hard to promote good sportsmanship, so it was so cool to see them playing hard and then give (the opponents) high-fives and pat them on the back and hug them for their hard work."

Parents not familiar with the DerbyTaunts can breathe a sigh of relief knowing their daughters won't engage in the full-contact moves for which the Derby Devils are famous.

"The junior team is not full contact and it's not as aggressive - only light hitting," Bynum said.

The DerbyTaunts also wear all the protective gear required, such as helmets and pads. The gear can get pricey, but Bynum said new girls can borrow equipment if needed.

"The two main questions I get from parents is, 'How much does the equipment cost?' and 'How well does my daughter have to skate?'

"Knowing how to skate helps, but it's not required. We tell girls to try it out and decide if they want to stay. There are no tryouts like we have for the regular Derby Devils - it's open enrollment. We let the girls borrow the skates and gear - we have plenty to lend out."

The Savannah Jr. DerbyTaunts will host a free meet-and-greet July 21 at the Garden City Gym.

The event is free and open to the public, and girls accompanied by a parent are welcome to skate while parents learn more about the league. Equipment will be available for use and new skaters may join the DerbyTaunts at the meeting.

Bynum also said the girls can come to two practices for free, and once they decide the DerbyTaunts is the right fit, they only have to pay the $10 monthly dues and show up for practice once each week from 2-4 p.m. at the Garden City Gym.

"Open enrollment will end in late August," Bynum said. "We close enrollment because we want the girls to have the chance to become a team without adding new people to the mix.

"Right now, we have about 10 girls, which is only enough for one team," Bynum said. "We really want to double that number so we can have two teams to play against each other during practice."

For those wanting to see a grown-up bout, the Derby Devils will take on the Low Country High Rollers of Charleston on July 20 at the Savannah Civic Center. The double-header includes two bouts starting at 5 and 7 p.m., with halftime games for kids, concessions and cold beer.

"We're also having a big raffle that night," Bynum said. "We have a raffle at all of our bouts to support a charity, and for the July 20 bout, the proceeds go to support the DerbyTaunts.

"One of the parents donated a four-night vacation in Treasure Island, Fla. It's probably the biggest raffle item we've ever had.

"And yes, you have to be present to win," she said.