The Top of Michigan Trails Council successfully completed the 3rd year of its Kids Biking Initiative in May of 2019. Our program provided ‘educational bike rides’ for 380 fourth grade students in Emmet County, including 58 fourth graders from Charlevoix, this last spring (May of 2019). When combining participation numbers from Year #1 (2016-17) , Year #2 (2017-18) and Year #3 (2018-19), we have had 960 fourth grade students in Emmet County experience an all-day educational bike ride in our beautiful northern Michigan corner of the world, along the North Western State Trail. Based on the success of the first 3 years, it is important to continue offering this experiential learning opportunity to our youth in Emmet County. Our ‘Pedaling with a Purpose’ program is working directly with local schools to achieve this goal.
Students are transported by bus with their class group to Spring Lake Park, where they are fitted with bike helmets and divided into learning groups that rotate between sessions on map reading/math, trail etiquette and bike mechanics. Little Traverse Conservancy staff leads them on a nature hike through the park. The entire group, assisted by adult volunteers, then heads out on the trail to the Oden Fish Hatchery, where they enjoy a healthy lunch followed by an educational tour of the facility. Then it’s back on the trail to the park, where the kids recap their experience.
An alarming rise in sedentary lifestyles, childhood obesity and early onset of diabetes among youth in the Unites States has everyone concerned. This program has exposed students to healthy lifestyle opportunities right here in their own backyard. Our goal is to show kids how fun it is to “pedal with a purpose”!!
A slideshow of the May 2018 outings can be viewed here.