Saturday, July 20, 2013

Our Week at iCanBike Camp

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This week has been an emotional roller coaster for us but I am getting ahead of myself. Let me back up. Sunday evening I was sitting here browsing facebook when I came across a post from SPD Connect. A reader had posted a link for iCanShine, a bike camp for children with disabilities. I admit, I had my doubts that there would be a camp near us, as there never is, but I checked it out anyways. Sure enough, there was a camp within 20 minutes of us - YEAH! As I am reading I discover that it starts the next day and is only for one week. Yeap, here is were the train stops. I decide I would send an email to the address that I found on the website for someone local and ask if there will be another camp anytime soon. I go back to browsing facebook not expecting an email this week (I just imagined everyone would be busy and out of the office with the camp this week). At 15 till 10 my phone rings and much to my surprise it is someone from the local college that is hosting the event. He tells me that there are still openings and I get Yang signed up. Score one for Mom!!!

You see, part of Yang's SPD is that she has gravitational insecurities, meaning she needs to have her feet planted firmly on the ground at all times, and therefore riding a bike has always been an issues. It doesn't help that she also has some gross motor delays. 


Once we arrived Yang was given a camp shirt and fitted for a helmet. She was super excited and said she had a real life helmet like bike racers now! Next her "bubby" Debra (a volunteer who works one on one with the kids) came over to introduce herself and take Yang over to the bikes. She was fine walking over but once she got to the bikes she started screaming and ran back to me. I have to tell ya it was hard not to run to her and just leave. I HATE seeing my babies cry! It just tears me up inside. Instead I kept my bottom planted firmly on the bleachers and when she got to me, she's quick, I gave her some deep pressure with my hugs, told her it was okay to be scared of something new and unknown but no one would let her get hurt. I told her she could do this! It took a few minutes but she finally calmed down and we made a deal that I would walk her over to the bikes and walk with her. As we walked across the gym, Gabey from iCanShine meet us half way, gave Yang a big high five for coming back and giving it another go! After 2 laps around Yang said it was okay that I went and sat back down!!


iCanShine uses specially designed bikes to help child with disabilities learn how to ride a bike, without training wheels. The camp is an hour long and last 5 days. Approximately 80% of the kids that attend are riding a bike with 2 wheels by the end of camp. The other 20% have made drastic improvements and leave the camp accompanied by parents, siblings or caregivers that have been trained as "spotters" to help them continue to reach their goal once they go home. The back wheel has been removed and replaced with a roller. There are different size rollers that are changed throughout the week as the child "masters" that roller. The rollers get smaller, making the kids use their balance more and more to get them ready for riding a 2 wheel bike.

Yang & Cory on the tandem bike.

Tandem Tuesday was lots of fun! Yang was scared at first and said Cory was going cray cray (crazy) but by the end she asked if we could get a 2 person bike!

video



Wednesday was a little difficult towards the end. Some of the kids got to take their first try at riding a 2 wheeled bike. Yang REALLY wanted to ride a 2 wheeled bike as well but she just wasn't ready yet. She had just been placed on the last roller before going to the 2 wheeled bike and still needed some more practice. She got really upset and began glaring at me as she did her laps on the practice bike. When she gets upset or nervous she starts itching. She went to itch while riding and lost control. She didn't wreck or fall but it was enough for her. She jumped off the bike, took off her helmet and threw it as she ran to me. By this point I have gotten better about staying put and not jumping in immediately. When she got to me I assured her she was doing an awesome job and it was just a matter of time before she was riding a 2 wheeled bike. Gabey came over to and they struck a deal to hop on the tandem bike together! She was good with that, but you could still tell she was mad.


Thursday was the most difficult day. She spent the first 10-15 minutes of camp riding the practice bike. When she went to take her water break Cory got out the 2 wheeled bike for Yang. She was so happy, until she started to ride! (Might want to turn your volume down a bit)

video

After a couple more tries we went outside, and from there she only let the anxiety get the best of her. She never wrecked the bike but had some situations that she THOUGHT she was going to wreck and would freak out. Cory work with her really well and had her riding. Unfortunately the heat was bad (we were under a heat warning) and we ended up having to go back inside.



Friday Jenna worked with Yang. She still needs to work on her balance and making sure she is looking up and paying attention where she is going but overall she has it! After riding outside for a while, again we had another heat warning) we came inside for an awards ceremony. Each kid received a metal for all their hard work this week!


I want to THANK Debra, Kelsey, Gabey and Cory for working with Yang this week. Without their hard work, determination, support and encouragement, not just for her but me as well, none of this would have been possible. They will always hold a special place in my heart and I will be forever grateful!!  


Yang and Debra
Yang and Kelsey 


















Yang and Gabey
Yang and Cory




















So what are you waiting for? Go find an iCanBike camp in your area now! Not able to find an iCanBike Camp in your area? Check out the Host page on the iCanShine website about becoming a host. You can always reach out to non-profit organizations in your area. Inform them about iCanShine and encourage them to host a camp. If you don't have a little one but have been inspired by my post please look into making a donation of ANY amount to iCanShine so they may continue to help children across the US SHINE!

UPDATE:

We went bike shopping Saturday and before we could even get out the storm is was POURING! She cried the whole way home, so Sunday we made sure to get out and ride.

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