Aboriginal Youth Mountain Biking Initiative
October 9, 2012
Overview:This project is a multi-year long term effort to support and encourage Aboriginal youth and communities to participate in and excel in the sport of mountain biking.
Mountain biking is a rapidly growing sport in BC and among First Nation communities with youth building their own tricks and skills parks, to trail networks and festivals and events. First Nation leaders recognize this and are looking to support and facilitate this burgeoning interest in a healthy and practical manner. In many communities, there simply hasn’t been sufficient or appropriate exposure or access to the sport. These communities are eager to create opportunities for their youth to learn about mountain biking with proper education, training, coaching and mentoring that will allow them to participate safely and excel. In communities where obesity and sedentary lifestyles are resulting in significant adverse health impacts, any opportunity or activity that will encourage youth to lead healthier and active lifestyles are welcomed and should be strongly encouraged and supported.
The goals and objectives of this program are to provide coaching and mentoring opportunities for Aboriginal youth to participate in Mountain biking. Assist Aboriginal youth in gaining access to mountain bikes and related equipment and appropriate safety gear. Utilize mountain biking to enhance leadership, team work, self-confidence, and athleticism among Aboriginal youth. Encourage greater connections to nature and promote healthy active living among Aboriginal youth. Provide First Nation communities and youth with the skills and abilities necessary to develop and maintain mountain biking infrastructure including skills parks and trail networks. To foster the development and maintenance of trail networks that are socially and environmentally sustainable and respect Aboriginal Rights and Title and the role of First Nations as the traditional stewards and caretakers of their traditional lands.
The activities that would be undertaken as part of this project would include providing courses for youth on mountain biking skills, bike repair, maintenance and safety. Develop partnerships with First Nations communities throughout BC and hosting skills development workshops, camps and trail rides. It would provide material and skills support for constructing mountain bike skills parks and trail networks in First Nation communities and traditional territories. The Aboriginal Youth Mountain Biking Initiative is a concept created by a group of mountain biking enthusiasts, teachers, planners and community leaders who would like to bring the benefits and opportunities of the sport to First Nation communities and youth in particular.
This project would involve EVERYONE, regardless of their physical condition or athletic ability. No one sits on the Bench! Everyone Participates and Experiences Success! The lead organization for this initiative is Sprockids, a program that was developed in 1990 in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast in BC as Self Esteem/Anger Management Program, by Doug Detwiller, a school teacher keen to help students succeed in school. (www.sprockids.com) Since then, Sprockids has evolved into a multi-faceted program engaging thousands of young people in mountain biking while teaching them skills, values and strategies to succeed in life. Clinics and events have been completed in 19 countries around the world and Sprockids has impacted thousands of young people and turned them on to the thrill of trail riding and stewardship.
This proposed Aboriginal Youth Mountain Biking Initiative seeks to build on the success of that model by providing First Nation communities the opportunity adapt it to their own needs and hopefully develop programs that are culturally appropriate to their own needs.