Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike Program

Organization Sponsor: ABORIGINAL YOUTH MOUNTAIN BIKING PROGRAM

URLs: 

Program Description

An Aboriginal Youth Mountain Biking Program has been initiated by a group of mountain bike enthusiasts to support and encourage Aboriginal youth and communities to participate and excel in the sport of mountain biking.

The program started in response to a growing interest among a number of First Nation communities to support and encourage their youth to get outdoors, reconnect with nature and live healthier active lives through mountain biking. The program is also intended to assist First Nation communities, with a strong focus on youth, to become more involved in the development of trails and recreation opportunities and the mountain bike tourism industry.

The Aboriginal Youth Mountain Biking Program is a group of mountain bike riders, coaches and community leaders who wish to support and encourage Aboriginal youth and communities to participate and excel in the sport of mountain biking.

Mountain biking has enjoyed remarkable growth over the past several decades and BC has is known around the world for its substantial trail networks, skills parks and events and festivals.

The Aboriginal Youth Mountain Biking Program is committed to supporting and encouraging youth and First Nation communities to get outdoors, reconnect with nature and live healthier active lives.  

We’ll partner with community councils, tribal council or Aboriginal non-profit societies and agencies; any group with an interest and commitment to improving recreational opportunities for Aboriginal youth.In order for our program to be effective and successful, we seek communities that are prepared to commit to the program with some of the following resources:

Community Champion – Someone or some people who are committed to the program and are interested in coordinating and becoming ride leaders for youth in their community. Our role is to provide your community with the training and to assist you in running your own mountain bike youth program

Interested Youth – In order to establish a youth program in a community, it is important that there is a sufficient number of youth available who are interested in the program. The objective of our program is to work with communities to establish programs for their youth. We do not provide training or instruction for individual youth members or groups outside of an established community program.

Land & Trails – Does your community have land or trails available for mountain biking? Is there a space that the community would donate for a bike park or for building trails? Do you have a community centre or space that could be used for operating a mountain bike youth program?

Equipment – Does your community have heavy machinery such as an excavator or bob cat that can be used for building a bike park or trails?

 Volunteers – Are there members of your community who will be willing and able to volunteer their time to building bike parks, trails and working with the youth on mountain bike initiatives. Volunteers are a critical part of a successful program.

Support from your leadership & community members – Is your leadership aware of mountain biking and supportive of the idea of developing a youth mountain bike program? How about the members of your community? Is there support for bike parks, trail developments and mountain biking? Support from the community is also a critical part of developing a successful program.

Funding – Though a mountain bike program is a fairly low cost program, it does cost some money to develop bike parks, trails and to purchase bikes and equipment for the youth. There are a number of funding opportunities that can be pursued to support a program in your community. Our team of expert fundraisers and grant writers are prepared to work with your community to identify and pursue the necessary funding. However, it is critical that your community is prepared to contribute some funds to show funding sources that you’re serious and committed to the project.

Funding Sources: 

Mountain Equipment Co-Op, Vancouver Foundation, Via Sports and the Aboriginal Youth Sports Legacy Fund. Lucas also started acrowdfunding campaignin early February, to raise at least $5,000 for the program.

Strategies For Sustainability: 

Programs & Services

Youth Camps – our certified instructors can facilitate day or multi-day mountain bike camps for youth providing instruction in basic and intermediate trail riding skills, trail etiquette and safety. 

Mountain Bike Instructor Training – our program can provide training for community members to become beginner level mountain bike instructors and ride leaders capable 

Youth Programs – we work with community recreation programs to develop mountain bike clubs and programing

Events – we assist community in organizing and hosting events such as community rides

Team Building Workshops – we provide introductory mountain bike instruction for groups of youth and adults using fun mountain bike focused activities to build skills in team-work, leadership and self-esteem

Bike Parks – we work with communities to plan and build bike skills parks

Trail Planning & Development – we work with communities to identify opportunities for developing multi-use and mountain bike primary trails.  

There are many First Nation communities ancient trading routes and trail networks. We work with communities to develop culturally appropriate strategies for redeveloping them and getting youth and adults outdoors and reconnecting with nature and the land.  

We train youth and adults in trail construction and maintenance.  

Bike Maintenance – we provide training workshops in basic mountain bike maintenance and repair

Equipment & Safety Gear – through our fundraising efforts we assist communities in getting quality bikes and safety gear.

Impact Of Program: 

To date: 3 Communities have joined and created trails and biking groups.

Key Elements Towards Success: 

The goals for the program include the following:

  1. BulletEstablish mountain biking as a viable option for First Nation communities & youth

  2. BulletEnhance leadership and teamwork, self-confidence and a love of sport among Aboriginal youth

  3. BulletProvide First Nation communities and youth with the skills and abilities to participate safely in mountain biking 

  4. BulletTo support the development of tails that are sustainable and respect Aboriginal Rights & Title and the role of First Nations as the stewards and caretakers of their territories

Challenges To Meet Them: 

We need volunteers!  If you’re someone with a passion in mountain biking and would like to volunteer and help us with our programming, please contact us. (All volunteers must undergo a criminal background check.)

We need assistance with the following:

  1. BulletMountain bike instructors and ride leaders

  2. BulletBike mechanics

  3. BulletFundraising

Length and Stage of Project: 

Founded in 2012

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