HERMISTON — A unique day camp that provides instruction on how to ride bicycles returns to Hermiston.
After a one-year hiatus, the iCan Bike program rides into town again — offering individuals with disabilities an opportunity to learn how to ride a bicycle. Cindy Middleton was the driving force behind bringing the iCan Bike to Eastern Oregon after her son, Rian, participated in the program in Longview, Washington.
“Cindy saw the success Rian had when he was younger. She saw the benefits of the independence it gave him,” said volunteer Tracy Hepworth.
In addition to learning how to ride bikes, Hepworth said the program increases self-confidence and provides an opportunity for participants to interact with others. She said learning the skill opens the door for outdoor fun.
The five-day camp includes daily 75-minute sessions, which are offered between 8:30 a.m. and 3:35 p.m. It runs Monday, June 24, through Friday, June 28. Sessions are held at Armand Larive Middle School, 1497 S.W. Ninth St., Hermiston. The cost is $99 per camper.
To participate, riders must be at least 8 years old. Also, participants must be able to walk without an assistive device, weigh less than 220 pounds and have a minimum inseam measurement of 20 inches. Hepworth said the requirements are based on specialized equipment used at the camp.
Riders initially utilize special bikes provided by the program. After working on skills indoors, they move outside to the track. By the end of the week, Hepworth said a large percentage of the participants are able to transition to riding their own 2-wheeled bike.
Riders are assisted by assigned volunteers, who must be at least 15 years old. Also, volunteers need to commit to the same time frame each day to provide continuity for the participants. A variety of physical activity levels are needed from volunteers — from those who can walk to people able to jog at a vigorous pace.
“We have parents that come and help and kids that run cross-country,” Hepworth said. “The community has been phenomenal and the kids have so much fun.”
There is a mandatory 45-minute training session for volunteers. It will be held Sunday, June 23 at Armand Larive. The time will be announced.
For camper and volunteer registration forms and additional information, visit www.icanshine.org/hermiston-or or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, Hepworth can provide forms and answer questions by calling 541-667-6021.