KBI Weekly Wrap Up – Round 2!

Here are Week 2’s highlights from Ms O. You can tell she is having a blast thanking her volunteers for the Kids Biking Initiative!

Monday: Paul Moultrup
The weather forecast this week has me thinking about a #KidsPedalingwithaPurposeVolunteersRock! very dear friend who would be right there with us at Spring Lake Park on these very cold mornings smiling…and shaking his head at the same time!

Paul Moultrup pegged me ‘Mother Biker’ on one of the first rides he volunteered for back in May of 2017 and the name has stuck ever since. Paul and I graduated from Petoskey High School together in 1979. As with many high school friends, we headed out on our own adventures and lost track of each other over the years. Re-connecting with Paul through Top of Michigan Trails and my Kids Pedaling with a Purpose Program has indeed been one of my most favorite pieces of this whole journey.

Paul is a grounded soul, a great listener, offers meaningful insight, has a wicked sense of humor, loves kids and loves biking! Paul moved downstate last fall and would have been truly missed if our 4th graders had been out on the NWST this spring. He did share with me this winter that he was planning on coming up and riding with us the last week of our 2020 program because he loved it so much. We are not ‘Pedaling with a Purpose’ this May Paul Moultrup, but make sure your week to ride with us is on your 2021 calendar!

Merry Monday everyone…as Week #2 of #KidsPedalingwithaPurposeVolunteersRock! kicks off!

Tuesday: Dennis Schanski
I am reminiscing again today as I begin writing my #KidsPedalingwithaPurposeVolunteersRock! post.

In January of 1988 I began my semester of Student Teaching in Harbor Springs. I was assigned to work under two science teachers: Jim Likins – high school biology and Dennis Schanski – 7th grade Life Science. As with most student teachers in those days, I had no idea what I was stepping into.

As I reflect on that student teaching experience, I am not sure I would have continued my career if I had not experienced Dennis’ style of teaching. He was well prepared, a passionate presenter and had very high standards & expectations for kids. Students definitely sat up straight when they were in Mr. Schanski’s class!

Dennis’ leadership skills, his gift of teaching and his love of biking are all definitely connected to our program launching successfully – and remaining strong. Dennis rode over 90% of our all-day outings over the last 3 years and will be missed when we are back on the trails again next spring. That’s OK though, because he continues to ‘give back’ to his community in so many different ways.

Patrick Affholter will do a fine job delivering the ‘Safety First’ speech before each class pedals out next spring…but I must admit, it just won’t be quite the same. Patrick…you also need to pick a couple of favorite songs to sing at each road crossing!

Thanks again Dennis…for who you are and all you have given. One added note: Becca Nelson has been posting my Volunteer Appreciation pieces on the Trails Council Website. Go too www.trailscouncil.org and click News and Events. Then scroll down to Trails Blog and you will be able to read all of the #KidsPedalingwithaPurposeVolunteersRock! stories.

Wednesday: Steve Biggs
At 7:00 this morning it was 24F and sunny. With today’s forecast being the warmest in over a week (56F) we would be riding with Christi Case’s 4th grade kids from Lincoln despite the morning frost.

If Steve Biggs was on my volunteer team today, he would be there, bundled up and smiling! That’s Steve. His vision, optimism, and belief in this program have been assets ‘above and beyond’ since its inception. Steve is an avid biker (as many of my volunteers are) but his involvement in community giving over the years has been, and continues to be, deeply woven in the tapestry of who we (Petoskey and beyond) are.

Steve Biggs has served on the Top of Michigan Trails Board of Directors for many years. When I presented my Kids Pedaling with a Purpose Program idea to the council in 2016, I think he had his thumbs up before I had even read the first paragraph of my proposal!

The list is long but here goes. Thank you Steve Biggs for:

  1. Being an active member and leader of an organization that has built & maintains the most beautiful biking trails in Michigan.
  2. Supporting our Kids Pedaling with a Purpose program on so many levels.
  3. The use of your Town & Country trailer our 1st year.
  4. Raising $ for our new Top of Michigan Trails & Kids Biking trailer.
  5. Channeling your Trillium Top Down gifting to KBI.
  6. Being a pro-active voice on our Future Kids Biking Program Sustainability Committee.
  7. And last, but not least, volunteering to ride with our 4th grade kids with that awesome smile on your face!

One added note…you have a pretty cool partner in life who has also been an awesome volunteer and supporter of our program. I included a couple pictures of Kathy Beier Biggs in this post. Thanks Kathy, for who you are and all you give to our program…and for bundling up and riding with us on those very cold days!

Thursday: Jim Schroeder
One of the many highlights of our Kids Pedaling with a Purpose Program is meeting so many wonderful people.

Jim Schroeder is one of those people.

Jim actively retired in 2012 and moved to Petoskey, where he and his wife, Kathy, have had a cottage in Bay View for many years.

Jim brings a wealth of experience, leadership and incite to our corner of Michigan specifically in the areas of fundraising, development and program advancement. The institutions he has served include the University of Illinois, Ohio State University, Harvard University Business School, and the Mayo Foundation.

Jim currently takes on professional consulting engagements and is involved with a number of local nonprofit organizations, including Top of Michigan Trails Board of Directors and the North Central Michigan College Foundation’s Board of Directors.

In 2019 a Kids Pedaling with a Purpose committee was formed focusing on ‘Future Sustainable Funding’ for the program and Jim graciously joined us at the table. His background, experiences and guidance are key pieces in the future growth of our program.

Jim meets two other prerequisites as well…he loves kids and he loves to bike!

One added note: Thanks Jim for riding with us on May 1st in honor of the kids who are ‘Sheltered in Place’ this spring. When we were standing 6 feet apart at the Fish Hatchery, talking about the future of the program in light of our current global challenges, it was so enlightening to hear your optimism!

Friday: MaryKay O’Donnell, Mark Grosvenor and Jack Grosvenor
Today’s #KidsPedalingwithaPurposeVolunteersRock! thank-you goes out to MaryKay O’Donnell and Mark Grosvenor, two very special Harbor Springs folks have gone ‘above and beyond’ with our program!

The first year we ran Kids Pedaling with a Purpose (and both of the years that followed) we had ~9% of the kids who could not ride a two-wheeler. Some of these kids had very special needs and some just hadn’t yet mastered the skill.

This number (9%) was logged after our initial visit to all of the schools in the winter months when we introduced our program and tested the kids biking skills in their gyms.

Each year, we went back to every school in April to work with these struggling kids, and by the time our educational rides kicked off in May we had this number down to about 5% who we had to accommodate (side-by-side, tandem or tag-a-long).

We could not have accommodated all of these kids without the generous donation of Jack Grosvenor’s side-by-side motorized bicycle.

Thank-you Jack…from the bottom of MANY hearts!

And thank-you MaryKay O’Donnell and Mark Grosvenor (Jack’s Parents) for lending us Jack’s bike – which ended up being used on so MANY of our rides!

Yes…MANY! When you scroll through these photos you will definitely be smiling as you look at the faces of the kids (and the volunteers!) who had the opportunity and privilege to ride Jack’s bike.

MaryKay, Mark Grosvenor and Jack we can not thank you enough for your generous and heart-filled contribution to our program!

Happy Friday everyone! It is beautiful today! Get out on those trails and pedal some miles this week-end. And keep you eyes open for Jack Grosvenor smiling and pedaling on the North Western State Trail!