Why? Because it’s fun — duh!
As we shift from summer to fall, the momentum continues here at Norte. And registration for our after-school youth bike program is filling up fast. So this week, we sat down with our Education and Program Director, Troy DeShano, to talk about what to expect and what he’s looking forward to this coming season.
What’s this time of year like for you? How are you feeling?
Right now, we’re still enjoying the fruits of our work related to Summer Bike Camp. It’s delightful. But there’s also a lot of anticipation and excitement as we think about the upcoming fall season. We’ve made some refinements to serve everyone better — we’re looking forward to seeing those in action.
What are some of the changes this fall?
There are a couple of changes. This spring, we tested out a two-day — as opposed to a three-day — mountain bike program for students in grades six through 12. We found that a three-day program can be difficult for parents and seasonal staff. So this fall, we are moving to a two-day per week program for all our mountain bike clubs.
Norte’s Adventure Bike Club has been a one-day per-week program for four weeks. So this fall, we’re going to test out a two-day per week program for that, as well.
The one other change we’re making is trying something new for mountain bike riders in our location at Westwoods Elementary School. We had seen that some of our coaches up at Boyne Mountain met at different trailheads during different weeks of the program. So we’re going to try that this fall — we’re calling it Westside Adventure. Teams will meet at Westwoods Elementary some days, at Lost Lake trailhead some days, and at Lake Ann Pathway on other days. This change will give everyone a chance to try out different types of terrain and trails.
Are there any lessons that you’re carrying forward from last fall?
The biggest lesson has been acknowledging how valuable our coaching staff is and finding ways to invest in them. We’re doing that by providing training and resources. Working with them, we’re finding new ways to allow them to do their best work.
This year, we saw an expansion of Norte’s More Girls On Bikes program. What’s the inspiration for that expansion?
We have noticed that when girls reach adolescence, they face more obstacles when it comes to participating in team sports and outdoor activities. More Girls on Bikes is a concentrated effort for girls and young women. We want to create a culture where girls have the opportunity to continue in the things they love — to learn new things and make new friendships — in a way that builds a sense of community. We also have many incredible women coaches who know firsthand the joy and freedom of being on a bike. They’re passionate about sharing that joy with others.
Why should people sign their young riders up for Norte’s fall programs?
Well, first of all, Norte programs are fun. Simple as that!
You should sign up if mountain biking is something you’ve been curious about. Norte is a great way to try something new in a safe environment. It also allows kids to get to know their peers more profoundly. When traveling by bike, we’re making the kind of bonds you don’t make in a classroom. Our riders are not on screens — they’re out in nature, moving their bodies and having lots of fun.
There are still spots available for all age groups in Norte’s Mountain Bike Team, Adventure Bike Club, and Balance Bike Club, but they are filling up quickly. So sign your young rider up today to ensure you get the program and location that’s best for you.
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