November 29, 2022

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Youth bike-riding program looking for volunteers

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – A program that centers on kids and bicycles is gearing up for another summer of fun in the Chippewa Valley.

906 Adventure Team is a bike-riding summer youth program serving six communities with one being in Eau Claire.

“We work with children five years through 17,” Tiffany Tibbitts with 906 Adventure Team said.

Tibbitts says the program helps build character while getting kids outside.

“We’re building skills like respect, consistency, effort, grit while they’re on the bike,” Tibbits said. “So we use that bike as a tool to get them out and get them in nature where they can practice those skills.”

Tibbitts says Lowes Creek Park is where Eau Claire’s chapter rides bikes.

“Being on the trails gets them in nature as well and creates an opportunity for those adventures for stopping and getting off and exploring a bug or a flower or a tree or something,” Tibbitts said.

Tibbitts says the goal is for kids to show up, give it their best shot, and have fun.

“This is an activity for them that that gives them that, that gives them the opportunity to connect with other children their age, to connect with strong mentors and there’s no pressure,” Tibbitts said. “So they don’t need any skills to come and join us.”

Tibbitts says the program wouldn’t be possible without its volunteers.

“The goal here is for them to show up and make those connections with kids, and they will meet the same group of children every night,” Tibbitts said. “They have a station that they go to, they do some bike checks. talk, connect, and then they ride.”

Jon Olstadt has been a volunteer since 2017.

“My daughter was interested in it and so I kind of followed her into the sport,” Olstadt said.

Olstadt says you don’t need to be a professional cyclist to join. The only requirement is to want to make a difference.

“Anyone that would want to volunteer, we’ll find that out in their lives, too, that it makes a difference for them as much as it does for the lives of the kids that we’re working with,” Tibbitts said.

Olstadt says the program not only introduces kids to biking but builds lifelong skills and friendships.

“Making friends and that camaraderie and the social connections, the teamwork, all of that kind of transcends the actual biking,” Olstadt said. “You know, the bike is just a vehicle through which we learn, you know, resiliency and grit.”

Tibbitts says registration for kids opens up May 7th and the program runs from June 14th through August 25th.

Tibbitts says the number of available slots depends on how many volunteers sign up and complete background checks and training.

To learn more, click here.

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