With grant support from VTrans and in partnership with Fletcher Allen Health Care, Local Motion launched a program in 2010 to give at least 400 kids essential bike handling skills and safety awareness. Our goal was to enhance children's independent mobility, increase their daily physical activity, and improve their health by making them more confident and competent cyclists.
We partnered with municipal parks and recreation departments -- including the Burlington Department of Parks and Recreation, Essex Junction Recreation and Parks, the South Burlington Recreation Department, and Winooski's Thrive Program -- to make the bike skills trainings happen. By the end of the summer, we had worked with over 500 kids, spending an average of almost four hours with each of them!
Here is what Dan Cahill, the Recreation Coordinator for Burlington's Department of Parks and Recreation, had to say about the program:
"Hands down, the "Bike Safety" activities were the most engaging and exciting of all the Champ Camp theme weeks all summer. This was directly related to the organization, flexibility, and knowledge of the Local Motion staff and volunteers. I received outstanding feedback from my staff and participating families, and coordinating and planning programming with Local Motion staff was enjoyable and easy."
Kids loved the trainings too. Many started hesitant, unsure of themselves and their abilities. By the end, almost every child was riding confidently, with big smiles and much-improved on-bike skills. As a result of our work, kids who formerly would have defaulted to pestering their mom for a ride or sitting in front of the TV instead will get out their bikes, strap on their helmets, and ride down the street with their friends.
This program never would have happened without support from a wide range of partners. In addition to VTrans (which funded the program via a Transportation Enhancement Grant) and Fletcher Allen Health Care (which managed the grant and supported us in many ways), we received help and donations (cash as well as in kind) from the following partners:
Many thanks to everyone!