Greetings from Tuscaloosa, Registration opens Dec. 1
Tusc-a-loos-a, the word takes flight in the middle and then slides down the penultimate syllable to stick the landing on the self-confident letter “a.” If only we could all be so lucky to say, “I’m from Tuscaloosa” because the city needs explaining in order to be understood by an outsider. Who better to do that than Morris “Munny” Sokol, whose millions he made from selling furniture went toward raising the quality of life for Tuscaloosans. Though Sokol died in 1984, the city park that bears his name is still giving back to the community – most recently to Little Bellas, which launched its Tuscaloosa chapter this past March.
Join us every Thursday evening for 8 weeks starting March 26, 2020
Every Thursday evening from 5:30-7:30 p.m., 12 Little Bellas descended upon Munny Sokol Park for eight weeks of mentoring using the medium of mountain biking. It’s easy to take this park for granted, unless you’re new to Little Bellas (which was everyone at some point), then the park – with its mix of dirt and gravel trails suited for all abilities – staged a transformation. Mentors representing many different aspects of Tuscaloosa threw themselves with abandon into getting more girls on bikes. As if she was fulfilling an inevitable destiny, the program lead, Rebecca “Beck” Matteo, carried out her mission to make Little Bellas happen in Tuscaloosa. Despite a tight timeline within which to launch the 2019 program, Beck brought her organizational skills to bear on getting the Tuscaloosa chapter off and running.
“I can say without a doubt it will be bigger next year,” Beck said. “We created a lot of excitement and we were successful at getting Little Bellas known in Tuscaloosa. I think the only ‘complaints’ we got were, ‘Can we have more Little Bellas?’”
Next up: Tuscaloosa Little Bellas 2020
The 2020 program will start up the week after daylight savings time begins in March and will run until just before the University of Alabama’s graduation. The timing deliberately coincides with school schedules because for instance, the University’s outdoor program provided Little Bellas with two student mentors. Little Bellas already has the support of the local National Interscholastic Cycling Association chapter, as well as the support of the public school system, the West Alabama Mountain Biking Association, and the Druid City Bicycle Club – all of whom seem to sense the same urgency to get more kids on bikes. Devoted groups like these are always the sum of their parts: the individuals dedicated to what they believe in. The Tuscaloosa mentors (many of whom will be back next year) either hail from these groups or share their dedication (or both).
“Mentors are kids at heart, they themselves want to learn, and they want to share something they’re passionate about,” Beck said. “I had a group of women who were incredibly responsible; they took it very seriously, they did the homework, showed up and were very innovative. They worked as a team. They’re just really committed to what Little Bellas stands for. They knew how to let the girls challenge themselves but then could sit back and let the girls find their own limits and just have fun.”
Look out Tuscaloosa because Little Bellas will be showing up around town starting November 23 at the TCX Tuscaloosa CycloCross Race p/b Madsen Machine Company (also know as "Gobble Cross") at Munny Sokol Park. Drop by to say “Hi” and get to know us before registration for the 2020 program opens a week later on Dec. 1.
Where to register
Registration for the Tuscaloosa chapter of Little Bellas opens on December 1, 2019. To learn more about the chapter, visit the program description here https://littlebellas.com/camp/tuscaloosa-al-sunday/ While you're there, follow the "Register" link to sign up for a reminder to let you know when registration is open!