If you enjoy being active and are looking for a rewarding experience, consider volunteering with the iCanBike Camp in West Hartford this July.
By Maddie Geerlof
The Miracle League of Connecticut is recruiting volunteers for the iCanBike camp, a program that will be held in July to help individuals with disabilities learn how to ride a two-wheeled bicycle.
The iCanBike camp, which falls under the umbrella of the iCanShine organization, will be held in West Hartford on July 23 through July 27, and is designed to help individuals of all ages, with a different disabilities, learn how ride bicycles and become confident, independent riders.
Sofie Brandt, a volunteer coordinator for iCanBike, said that she enjoys working with the kids and watching them accomplish their goal in only a week. “[The participants] build such a confidence,” said Brandt.
The camp has been offered in West Hartford for more than 10 years, and has accomplished an 85 percent success rate. However, this goal cannot be accomplished without dedicated, enthusiastic volunteers, Brandt said.
The iCanBike team is looking for kind and friendly volunteers who are “open to teaching.” Brandt said the camp is comprised of both trained staff members as well as volunteers so even those who may have not worked with someone who has special needs previously would still be able to help.
This year the iCanBike camp will be held at Conard High School. The camp will start inside the gym and participants will use adapted training “roller” bikes and assimilate themselves with riding with the help of staff and volunteers.
The program is designed so that there are three spotters, a mix of volunteers and staff, assigned to each rider. This format allows the team to take turns, spectate, and engage with the participant. Brandt explained that each volunteer will be assigned to a rider for one session each day.
As the participants grow more comfortable with the concept, they gradually transition to riding regular bicycles outside in the parking lot.
Brandt, who is a three-year volunteer herself, said that the experience is very rewarding and added, “It’s not only the work, it’s building relationships with the kids.”
Volunteers are required to be at least 15-years-old. Currently, volunteers are still needed for sessions one, four, and five, and the team has requested that volunteers join the camp for at least one session each day. Volunteers will be provided with lunch each day at 1 p.m., and they will receive a volunteer shirt.
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