If you’ve seen our programs in the past, you know that typically girls roll up with their shiny new or well loved bikes for a day of meeting the pros, watching top-level racing, and of course, pedaling.
This camp was different.
Thanks to support from Whole Foods Cranston, forty (FORTY!) local girls who would never have the opportunity otherwise spent this weekend riding bikes with positive female role models during the Providence Cyclocross Festival.
Running up to the camp, we coordinated with Cranston and Providence underprivileged after school programs and local schools to find girls that were excited about moving.
An entirely scholarship camp was a first for us, and it was different from the beginning. We played a serious game of bike tetris to fit 20 bikes in a 8ft x 5ft Uhaul trailer for the drive from VT to RI. Then, we further loaded 25 helmets from the Providence YMCA into the Uhaul past the recommended 3/4 fill line. And of course, we had to make room for the healthy snack.
We were ready! Timid and awestruck girls showed up on Saturday and Sunday to a bike race having no idea the scale or magnitude of the event.
Their shy demeanors melted into excitement and smiles as our mentors greeted them with new Primal Wear jerseys and their very own bike. They belonged. We struggled riding out of the venue as many hadn’t been on bikes in years. Making our way to a baseball field, the girls created patterns in the dirt to become acquainted with their new bikes. With gears clicking over with the rhythm of a seasoned veteran and the infield tracked up, we were ready to hit the trails.
The exclamations were unbelievable! ”This is the best day of my life”, “I thought this was going to be boring, but this is amazing”, and “I love this”
We made it back just in time for the pro women’s race, so they could watch and realize the gravity behind these women’s accomplishments. We rounded out our day with a social with the pros where their jerseys were covered in signatures and they asked questions ranging from “What inspired you to become a bike racer?” to “What’s your favorite food?”
They left the camp with a sense of belonging, accomplishment, pride, and hunger for more. I never thought this was possible from those timid faces. Thank you Whole Foods Cranston for providing this opportunity.
Whole Foods Market, 261 Waterman St, Providence RI 02906