From the traditional territory of the Cowichan Tribes, the HopOn youth cycling program visited the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island and introduced kids ages 6 to 12 to the joy of riding bikes during a week-long cycling camp at the Si’em Lelum sports facility in Duncan, BC.
As a project between Cycling Canada’s Victoria Hub, Cycling BC’s HopOn youth program, and the Cowichan Tribes, the cycling camp taught kids with little to no riding experience the fundamentals of riding a bike. In addition, the camp created an employment opportunity for a member of the Cowichan Tribes community to help out with the camp as an assistant coach.
The HopOn program’s visit to the Cowichan Tribes gave youth the opportunity to learn basic cycling skills and also taught them lessons in social and emotional development by adopting a growth mindset which is deeply entrenched in the HopOn curriculum. The kids learned things such as,
- Level-up mentality
- Perseverance and grit
- Breathing techniques
- Emotional regulation
With over 4,900 members, Cowichan Tribes are the largest single First Nations Band in British Columbia; their core traditional territory spans approximately 375,000 hectares. The introduction of cycling to their youth encourages them to continue exploring and connecting with their ancestral lands, rivers, and trails by bike. The local police also participated in the camp to promote cycling as a healthy way to cope with substance abuse and other challenges in the community.
HopOn’s visit with the Cowichan Tribes was a worthwhile experience with key learnings and takeaways for both sides, including finding ways to overcome barriers to entry into the sport such as securing equipment that members can use in the long term.
Cycling BC, HopOn, and the Victoria Hub are grateful for the opportunity to connect with the Cowichan Tribes and look forward to continuing to make cycling accessible to people of all ages and abilities throughout BC.
Thanks to the financial support of our sponsors and your membership with Cycling BC, we are able to create these opportunities for youth who may not have regular access to programs. HopOn is already planning a return to Cowichan for another camp at the end of August.
For more information on how to get the HopOn program in your community, please contact us at [email protected] . To support us in providing programming for youth in our communities, please make a donation to Cycling BC through the BC Amateur Sport Fund.