Kids in the Sprockids program at the Boys and Girls Club in Williams Lake have been able to hit the bike trails this summer on brand new mountain bikes, thanks to the support of Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett.
“We owe such huge thanks to Donna Barnett,” said Boys and Girls Club program services leader Linda Bingham.
“She came through our club last year, doing a walk-through of some of our local non-profits, and found out what we do: our goals, our programs, our collaborations in the community and our outreach.”
Barnett explained that she discovered that there was government funding available through Community Support and Development, for worthwhile projects in the Cariboo region. She reached out to the Boys and Girls Club.
“I know how dedicated they are,” Barnett said. “I told them about the available funds and asked them to write a letter listing something they needed.”
The result was $10,000 for new mountain bikes for Cariboo kids in the Sprockids program.
“This came at the perfect time,” Bingham continued, adding that they bought the bikes from Barking Spider. “Our bikes were getting unusable. Besides our program, we loan them out to the School District for the Rolling with the Fuzz program and they get a lot of use.
“We have an amazing mecca of trails in our community and wanted these kids to be able to get out and enjoy them.”
Barnett said it was a worthwhile project, adding that Boys and Girls Club goes above and beyond to give kids amazing opportunities.
“It’s so great for these kids to get out and enjoy a wilderness environment,” Barnett said.
“When you spend time outdoors you learn to respect the environment, and riding bikes is a great way to do that. Biking is such good exercise and is great for your health: there’s nothing better.”
Sprockids offers structured skill building, basic bike maintenance, trail riding and safety training for kids ages seven to 18.
“Our executive director wrote grant after grant trying to improve our bike fleet,” Bingham continued. “It’s a very competitive market and he tried so hard — what a gift this was!
“The kids are loving these bikes, and with this funding we were also able to tune up our older bikes to give to kids to take home.”
She said that mountain biking gives kids a sense of accomplishment, of self-esteem, has health benefits and gives them a sense of being part of the community.
“This was such a great pleasure,” Barnett said. “Helping kids move forward in health and making the quality of their life better — it doesn’t get any better than that.”
For more information about the programs at Boys and Girls Club, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 250-392-5730, visit www.bgcwilliamslake.com or find them on Facebook Boys and Girls Club of Williams Lake.