This year, Cycling BC partnered with River City Cycling Club to create HopOn programs for local youth in Campbell River.
For years, Campbell River has hosted the well-known Sprockids cycling program for youth of all ages. Cycling BC’s iRide After-School program worked in tandem with Sprockids from 2017 to 2019 to deliver youth programming in the region (the HopOn program was called iRide back then). Since then, the HopOn program has been adopted by other provinces across the country and has become the basis of Cycling Canada’s national grassroots initiative. As a national program, access to Sport Canada funding in 2023 made it possible for Cycling BC-affiliated clubs like River City Cycling Club to organize HopOn programs for youth in their communities.
“Bringing accessible cycling programs back to Campbell River post-covid was very important to me. HopOn made it possible” – Sarah Wright, Lead Instructor
The River City Cycling Club is one of Cycling BC’s long-standing and respected clubs with a track record of providing fun and age-appropriate mountain bike programs led by coach Martha. It was no surprise then that more than half of the prospective instructors for the Campbell River HopOn program were former or current members of Martha’s team—a testament to the healthy learning environment at River City’s programs.
After the completion of instructor training in early June, programs started to sprout. After-school programs launched in June and the team added a summer camp in August, bookended by another after-school program in September. In total, over 50 participants and 8 instructors participated in HopOn Campbell River presented by River City Cycling Club.
I was super excited to have lots of interest in both our Monday and Tuesday programs this September. I love working with the kids and their enthusiasm to get out and ride is awesome. It’s so fun to work with them, building skills with games and helping them ride features in the nearby bike park. The kids are super excited to try new things and learn new skills, I’ve had tonnes of positive feed back from parents telling me how much their child enjoyed the games or was so ecstatic because they learnt a new skill. A definite favourite from the kids was “foot down”, “skid game” and “run the gauntlet” because it usually ends up with a coach being pelted with dodge balls. – Hunter Munro, HopOn Instructor
“It was great to fine-tune our skills with an after-school program and see what worked and didn’t work. We plan to make 4-6 week programs in the spring, lasting 1.5 hours, and spend the 1st day or 2 in the field, then probably spend the majority of the rest of the sessions in the trails. It’s so great to get all these kids out in the forest, learning about the local trail network, and practicing their skills on actual roots, hills and turns. It works well to explain skills, play some games and build the fun and bike love in a field, but it is very different when everyone is in single file – with an instructor or volunteer at the front, back and somewhere in the middle it makes it easier to coach kids one-on-one on tackling obstacles, providing feedback and encouragement and helping them gain confidence. It was fun to tell the kids that we had already seen them tackle hills in the field, and that the hills on a certain trail were no bigger. It was great to slow things down and session things, not just rush through the trail ride. – Sarah Wright, Lead Instructor
I enjoyed the challenge of coaching an after-school program with less time than the summer program. I developed different coaching skills and techniques to fit the time and energy of the kids. I found the trail ride was a perfect balance of fun and challenge for my group and helped them focus on skills we had practiced. – Gavin Chatterton, HopOn Instructor
If you are seeking a fun and accessible cycling program for your child, stay tuned for dates and details for 2024 HopOn Community programs early in the new year.
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