P.E.I. now has ten youth cycling leaders hitting the road after this past weekend's training.
Although the weather was raining and windy, nothing could stop ten enthusiastic adults from learning in "ins and outs" of bicycling during the June 10 & 11 intensive National Introduction to Cycling Sprockids Program presented by Master Course Conductor, Ed Ripmeester.
For Cycling P.E.I. President Ken Trenholm, the community interest hits a soft spot.
"It is no accident that when Islanders hear about a way to help children be safe as well as have fun that Islanders jump in the saddle -- but I had no idea how large the support would be," says Trenholm.
"I had originally thought we may have a few people attend and run two or three groups across the Island . . . when we ended up with 10 people and another handful interested, I knew people thought we had something good rolling here and that they wanted to be a part of it."
And getting rolling seems to be exactly what the group of ten freshly certified leaders are doing.
From a financial donation from the Police Association towards a Summerside-based Sprockids program to potential interest to align Sprockids into a City's Day Camp program; from interest to start-up a program in the Montague area to fever around Sprockids in Western P.E.I. and on the Gulf Shore -- it seems that how to adopt Sprockids in any community is limitless across the Island.
For a little background about the program, Sprockids has over 15 years of history and is being used in 16 countries. The program works with youth from 9 to 12 years of age and focuses on the 55 bicycling skills that form the core of the program.
The program was developed and supported by national champions, world champions, elite level coaches, and cycling enthusiasts. Through achievement and success of individual skills, group activities, and building small success upon small success, youth develop increased fitness, increased self-esteem, and, of course, increase bike handling skills.
"The goal of this program is not to create racers but to help kids learn a better way to bicycle and have fun doing it", Trenholm elaborates.
Trenholm explains that the Canadian Cycling Association and Cycling P.E.I. are building for the future health of P.E.I. youth and one of the aspirations is for a P.E.I. to have it's very own Sprockids Master Course Conductor. This would ensure those who are interested in becoming Sprockids leaders can do so on the Island, with easy access to a Master Course Conductor.
Trenholm smiles when he pictures the future of youth cycling in the province. He sees Sprockids a perfect fit with the other youth cycling club on the Island.
Currently there is one youth cycling program based out of Brookvale that rides on Tuesday evenings called the Rigid Riders. The Rigid Riders age range is from 12 years of age or more.
"You are going to have these younger Sprockids youth seeing the older Rigid Riders as role models and Sprockids wanting to be "like" the Rigid Riders."
The end product, says Trenholm, is that our province will have a cycling growth program with an increased need for more youth cycling programs like the Rigid Riders in the same communities that have a Sprockids group.
And, as for at the end result of the training on this weekend, one thing is for sure, Trenholm concludes, "this is the most certified Sprockids Leaders we have had in our history as an organization. . . this speaks loudly to the support of youth cycling development and to the future of all types of bicycling in our province."
The list of newly certified leaders to the National Introduction to Cycling Sprockids Program are as follows: Margie Cain (O'Leary), Wendy Chappell (Montague), Derek King (Montague), Genna Phelan (Charlottetown), Meagan Gauthier (Charlottetown), Opal MacEwen (Stanley Bridge), Shawn McCarthy (Cornwall), Chris Gallant (Summerside), Ernie Schleichkorn (Summerside), and Ken Trenholm (Summerside).
For those interested in being on a list for future sprockids training, or for youth wanting to be placed on a list for a sprockids course in your community, please email Ken Trenholm at firstname.lastname@example.org , phone at 888-3878, or visit www.cpei.ca for more information.