The Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin (ASSEW) is pleased to announce the national iCan Shine Bike Program from June 27-July 1, at The Columbia St. Mary’s Center/Milwaukee Curling Club on the Ozaukee County Fairgrounds in Cedarburg. The goal of the weeklong camp is to teach individuals with disabilities how to ride a conventional bike and become a lifelong independent rider! The Ozaukee County camp has 40 riders and over 50 volunteers for this week.
Riders are children ages 8 and up, teens and sometimes adults who have a diagnosed disability but are able to walk without assistive devices and sidestep from side to side.
This program uses a fleet of adapted bicycles, a specialized instructional program and a trained staff to teach individuals with disabilities how to ride a bike. Riders attend 75-minute sessions each day for five consecutive days and are partnered up with community volunteers who provide physical assistance, encouragement and serve as spotters.
Over the course of the 5-day camp, the adapted bike is adjusted to gradually introduce more instability in an effort to challenge riders at their own individual pace. The week concludes with a touching and inspiring award ceremony.
Success in learning to ride a bicycle is a major accomplishment for attendees and builds confidence and an improved self-image. Nothing is more inspiring than seeing a group of bike camp participants ride a conventional bike completely independently. In 2014, by the end of the 5-day camp over 80 percent of riders learned to ride their bikes completely independently.
“ASSEW partners with this program because it focuses on physical health, wellness, independence and inclusion,” said Executive Director of ASSEW, Emily Levine. “By giving the riders an opportunity to experience something they can feel really good about for their week of hard work and an opportunity for socialization makes this program in direct correlation with our mission and provides a positive outcome for the riders’ future mobility.”