Creating Effective Youth Initiatives
Part 1) How to Develop and Implement Mountain Bike Clinics
Presented by Lynne Kunins and Jennifer Hoffman Jones, Florida Introduces Physical Activity and Nutrition to Youth (Florida, USA)
- Educate, create access and effect change
- Focus on school break camps and school trips
- Partner with other youth services for funding and as a means of connecting with children in need. Examples: boys and girls clubs and the United Way
- Create focused activities to touch upon various educational moments. This prevents boredom.
- Think of including things beyond just the bike: creative corner, environmental education and nutritional education in addition to mountain biking.
- Suggested ratio of 4 kids to 1 adult.
- Collect data: pre-ride test and post-ride test. You only need 5 simple questions to gauge the impact of the program.
- Leave room for unstructured activity within the structure. Have options for the children to choose from.
Part 2) High School Cycling Leagues
Presented by Austin McInerny, Steve Messer and Matt Gunnel, NICA/CORBA (California, USA).
- NICA’s goal is full participation: everyone rides, everyone races.
- Focus on healthy bodies, healthy minds. Important to refer to the kids as student athletes, not just athletes. School comes first.
- NICA-trained and licensed coaches create the network. They are mentors, role models and youth developers first, athletic trainers second.
- An dnd-of-season survey shows that family riding increases through participation. The kids get their parents into it.
- The NICA league in SoCal has grown from 87 riders/14 teams in 2009 to 322 riders/26 teams in 2012. Expect to pass 400 riders in the 2013 season.
- The league is not a trail advocacy organization, but recognizes the need to engage the students and the community in caring for trails.
- The opportunity is there to introduce the stewardship ethic, especially since most high school riders are new to the sport and take the NICA culture seriously.
- NICA SoCal is getting the racers involved in trail stewardship by partnering with IMBA Chapters, which can provide a ready-made framework for students to obtain service hours.
- The IMBA Chapter benefits by expanding their messaging, expanding their volunteer base, growing general support for mountain biking, etc.
- Mountain biking requires 3 things: bike, body and trails. All three need regular maintenance.
- High school community service hours can be signed of on by a non-profit (IMBA Chapter).
- By engaging the students in preserving and protecting the places they play, they better understand community connectivity.
Part 3) Strider Bikes: Are we one generation away from the death of bicycling?
Presented by Kent Jacobs, Strider Sports International (South Dakota, USA)
- 60 million parents are NOT introducing their children to cycling
- Kids are active in playing organized sports, but are not active in their transportation. Kids used to ride to their soccer games, school, friends’ houses, etc.
- Kids are learning to ride later in life than in the past.
- 2 million kids will turn two in the U.S. in 2012. 16 million kids in the U.S. are under the age of 5.
- The bicycle adventure doesn’t require a trail, but has an important nature component and allows kids to choose their own adventure. Their experience shapes their memories.
- You don’t actually need “specific” trails for young kids, but challenges should be appropriate.