Bursting with new confidence, 11 Houston kids successfully peddled their bikes for the first time last week.
The kids learned to bike at a week-long camp put on by the Bulkley Valley Child Development Centre at Silverthorne School.
Parent Stephanie Wicks says the camp was amazing.
“It means a lot to Olivia to be around other kids who are like herself, who she can relate to and see that she is not the only one who can’t ride a bike,” Wicks said.
“It’s such a great experience.”
Pete Breuer agrees.
“It means so much for Eric to gain his confidence by learning how to ride a bike, and socialize and meet new friends during the summer.”
Breuer says his son feared falling off the bike, and through the camp he learned he was not alone in that fear.
At the camp, the kids slowly learned skills to handle a bike and gradually built up their confidence.
The goal of the camp is to help kids who need a little extra help, learn to ride their bikes, said Coordinator Caitlyn DeBruyne.
The camp “is all about having a really fun and inclusive environment and then adapting the bikes themselves as well as the environment to teach them those skills.”
With help from sponsors, the BV Child Development Centre bought 11 new bikes which will be part of a bike loan program for families to loan bikes free for the summer.
DeBruyne says they have bikes of different sizes, some with pedals, no pedals and training wheels, so they can adapt the bikes to fit each kids’ level.
Each kid also got a helmet to take home.
DeBruyne says a lot of kids struggle to learn to bike independently.
Biking “was a goal that families kept identifying because I think biking is such a form of freedom and independence for kids. Its such a strong confidence booster,” DeBruyne said.
“It makes kids feel like they are part of the community and they have this sense of individually and freedom when they’re biking.”
The BV Child Development Centre thanks sponsors Glacier Toyota, COB Bike Shop, Dungate Community Forest, Variety the Children’s Charity, Smithers Mountain Bike Association, MOST Committee, Houston Early Childhood Development Committee, and Houston and Smithers RCMP.