It’s the last day of the Bismarck, ND, iCan Bike Camp, and the VFW Sports Center hockey arena is alive with peddles and pedestrians.
The music is cranked, and Vicky Adolf smiles from the sidelines as her granddaughter, Alex, glides by on a training bike.
Basin Electric volunteers guide Alex with a handlebar attachment and offer up cheers for the young cyclist.
“Keep going! Good job!” shouts Kyle Pearson, Basin Electric desktop applications analyst III, as he runs backwards in front of Alex.
After a loop around the arena, Alex is ready for a short break – and a hug. She runs up to Jen Holen, Basin Electric supervisor of community and employee engagement, and opens up her arms.
“That’s my favorite part!” Holen says, returning a hug.
Throughout the week of Aug. 3, Basin Electric employees took time to mentor a handful of young cyclists with various disabilities. The program travels to multiple communities each summer and helps kids become more comfortable when riding a bike. Check out the video.
This camp runs on volunteers, as well as the folks who train them.
Kenan Brod, who first heard of the iCan Bike Camp through a professor at Indiana’s Ball State University, has worked in the program for four years, traveling to nine cities this summer. Not far from where Alex is once again taking off for a second spin, Brod begins preparing a bike for another rider.
“This camp is the best thing in my life,” she says, while smoothing out a balancing mechanism. “I think it’s the best thing in a lot of these people’s lives.”
“I’m in love with this work,” Smucker says, as he attaches a guiding handlebar to a bike seat. “My summer life will always be the iCan Bike Camp, just because I love it.”
After all the bikes are tuned up and ready to go, everyone heads outside the VFW building, where family members cheer for a group of young riders who made great progress throughout the week.
Eric and Kali Hieb cheer from the side of an open paved area where their son, Joey, is riding his bike with the help of more Basin Electric volunteers.
The Hiebs say Joey gets frustrated easily when it comes to riding a bike, but added the iCan Bike Camp made a difference.
“You could just see him relax,” Kali Hieb says.
Through the camp, the Hiebs and other families were able to consult with experts on the right bikes to purchase for continued practice after the camp.
“This camp was definitely worth it,” she says.
Nearby, Jeremy Woeste watches Joey and other riders give it their all, and he’s inspired. Like other Basin Electric volunteers, he sees firsthand what this camp means to the families involved.
“It brings tears to my eyes when I watch the parents,” says Woeste, Basin Electric member media coordinator. Beaming expressions can be seen on the faces of numerous parents, thrilled their kids can experience the joys of riding a bike.
Basin Electric believes in commitment to community. Through that commitment, volunteers were able to give kids a chance to thrive on two wheels.