RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - iCan Bike Camp helps kids and adults with developmental disabilities achieve a new level of independence. It's happening June 20-24th at the Reno Sparks Convention Center. For participants and volunteers, it's a life-changing experience.
"Some folks get told that they can never ride a bike, and we've had folks like age 22 learn how to ride a bike in a single week," explains Marika Baren, Executive Director of Down Syndrome Network of Northern Nevada. She says the camp gives participants a greater sense of independence and accomplishment.
Riders like Justin Reitz can get frustrated or lose interest before getting the hang of it. His mom Carol says the camp helped him focus and practice those skills until he got it. "He had a wonderful experience, he truly did," she says. Riding a bike gives him a new outlet to exercise and to socialize with family and friends.
Volunteers are the key to making the camp work. Baren says they hope to have 40 riders this year and each one needs 2 volunteers. So far only 30 people have signed up to help, so they still need 50 more people. It's a perfect opportunity for teens, who would like to give back to the community.
Volunteer Jill Rovetti says it's fun and rewarding. "You just, like, change their lives and it's a really great feeling." Her brother Jack has been riding in the program since the beginning. He's now eager to show off his riding skills as well as a few tricks.
The Down Syndrome Network of Northern Nevada works with Kiwanis, which helps provide bikes and helmets for the camp. They also got some help from the Reno Bike project this year. Jersey Mikes, Round Table, Jimmy Johns and BJ's Brew House are providing food for the camp. For more information about how you can participate or volunteer check out the attached link.