Good afternoon or evening,
I am excited to communicate and get feedback from a greater audience size about the club we are starting in a small town outside of Portland, Oregon. We recently invited 12 youth, all middle school age, to participate in a mountain bike club. Many of these students are interested in the downhill and jump sides of mountain biking. Though I dabble in these areas, I am trying to pull in more youth. The main focus is youth that are not as economically advantaged. I want to show them the wonders of biking in the wilderness and the power that a bike can offer someone in general as well as for those that will not have cars of their own to drive. There are so many reasons I want to bring biking to the community. We are a community that struggles with drugs, poverty and general low health. I have seen biking in other areas within the youth communities and hope to offer this as an alternative to these different struggles.
Right now we are smaller than small. But I hope you all can help me see and think of ways to build this club from your own experience in clubs/groups to some of you having started something similar in your own area. My main hurdles right now are the amount of bikes and gear as well as transportation to actual trails. I am a teacher in this community, so I have access to youth and their families, but these other areas are what keep this from being an inclusive club at the moment. I want to give all access to this sport and give them opportunities that take them out of this town and experience the bigger picture of what life can offer.
Thank you so much for those who take the time to respond and comment. I appreciate any insight that will help me move this vision forward to a reality for the most youth possible.
I don't have any experience organizing clubs or anything, so I have limited insight here, but...
As you point out, the cost of acquired decent quality bikes and gear is a significant one. Have you tried approaching any brands about providing "sponsored"/discounted equipment? They might be willing to, under the thinking that getting more youth into the sport converts to more adult sales if they stick with it, and the PR for supporting underserved communities. I'm not saying it will be easy, and I can imagine it would take going through some brands declining or ignoring requests before meeting with success, but it's an idea. There may of course be trade-offs like wanting ad banners at the local trails/pump track.
Is there a local trail advocacy group you could try to partner with? They're usually volunteer non-profits, so they may not have much for financial resources to spare and what they do have is mostly spent maintaining the trails, but maybe they could help increase your pull if you do approach more commercial entities?
Hi MTB Tribe, We have an organization in Traverse City, Mi that is the exact fit for you. Go to the Website for NORTE in Traverse city. The organizer "Ty" could give you a blue print for his organization.Bill
Check our WORCA.com
They are a non-profit biking group/club in Whistler BC. They are good people and would probably be happy to talk to you and share the “knowledge”.
My children attended their summer camps and they did a great job of keeping the children happy and safe.