Submitted by Jamie Candelaria
“There’s a special bond between kids and bikes that can never be broken. Riding a bike is a rite of passage, a passport to worlds beyond the front lawn. Bikes represent fun, freedom, and fresh air — everything that’s good about being a kid. Moreover, biking is a healthy pastime that kids will never outgrow.”- Parent Magazine
With that special bond of kids and bikes in mind, Colorado Girl Scout Troop 43893 in Colorado Springs sought to make that happen for kids who otherwise couldn’t afford that journey beyond the front lawn. On March 1 and 2, 2018, Troop 43893 teamed up with Academy International Elementary School for a bike drive.
Troop Co-Leader Jamie Candelaria explained: “Academy International does an annual running event called Lynx Laps as a fundraiser and we thought it would be a great idea to have a bike drive to encourage those who don’t yet have bikes to get active,” she said. Plus, “Every kid needs a bike!”
It also gave the girls the perfect opportunity to give back to the community, a core value of Girl Scouts, and in line with the previous community work that Troop 43893 has done in the past.
“Girl Scouts is a fantastic program that promotes and teaches girls to be leaders who give back to the community,” Candelaria said. “Girl Scouts have made it a priority to be positive contributors to our community. We have held a book drive, animal food drive to donate to the Humane Society of Pikes Peak, collected more than 600 cookie donations to give to over troops overseas and Hometown Heroes, made pillow cases and put together activity kits for parents and children who are at Children’s Hospital,” among many other contributions.
All bikes donated will benefit Kids on Bikes, a non-profit organization in Colorado Springs whose mission it is to make bicycling possible for all children from all walks of life. Kids on Bikes was founded in 2005 and initially strictly bought new bikes and did bike giveaways. Two years ago, they turned their business model on its head and began accepting donated bikes and were able to open up more programs and bicycle libraries around town.
Troop 4389’s goal for the two-day drive was to maybe fill the van that held 10 or so bikes. They needed a bigger van. “We hoped for 5 or 6 bikes,” said Candelaria. “We got 36 bikes donated!”
Girl Scouts learned the value of doing for others on the two days of the drive. “It meant that people cared about donating bikes since there were a lot of people that donated,” said Brownie Sofie Harsma, who also donated a bike to the drive. “It was fun because some of my friends were there and we all rushed to get the donated bikes.”
“I like that now people can ride different bikes,” said Sarah Brickman, a Troop 43893 Brownie, who also donated a bike. “I like riding my bike. It’s fun and it’s healthy and now more kids can do that. People who don’t know how to ride bikes can now learn on the training wheel bikes that people donated.”
“This bike drive helped me realize how fortunate I am to be able to ride my bike everyday. I also loved seeing how much people cared because my school was able to donate 36 bikes.” Bryan Sespico, a coordinator with Kids on Bikes who fixes up the donated bikes through Pedal Station on South Tejon St., could not have been happier with the results of this drive. Since Kids on Bikes started accepting donations of bikes in 2016, they have received over 1300 bikes.
“The Girl Scout bike drive was great!” Sespico said. “It was really kind of the Girl Scouts to take the initiative and put this all together for us.”
Sespico said that most of the bikes that were donated through the Girl Scout drive will be used for the Earn-A-Bike program or bike libraries, or will wait until the perfect union of kid and bike can be found.
Earn-A-Bike is hands-on programming that gives kids the opportunity to earn a bicycle for themselves after learning basic safety and riding skills, setting them off on their journey to find out what exists beyond their driveways and to find new adventures around them. “I’ve been able to personally hand off bikes to a couple kids and they’re always so grateful and excited to ride,” Sespico said. “It’s a contagious kind of excitement.”
It sure was for Troop 43893.
“This bike drive was the perfect opportunity for our Girl Scouts (Troop 43893) to do what they love,” Candelaria said. “Our girls were so excited to collect the bikes and have a hand in ensuring all kids have an opportunity to ride bikes! They had a blast collecting the bike from the drop-off lines at AIES.”
To learn more about Kids on Bikes, or to make a bike or financial contribution, visit https://kidsonbikes.net/.
Troop 43893 is a multi-level troop and has done AMAZING G.I.R.L things for our community. We have made it a priority to be positive contributors to our community. We have held a book drive, animal food drive to donate to the Humane Society of Pikes Peak, collected more than 600 cookie donations to give to over troops overseas and Hometown Heroes, made pillow cases, and put together activity kits for parents and children who are at Children’s Hospital, raised donations for hygiene products to donate to the local shelters, among many other contributions.
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