Bike Adventure Camps for Kids

The Hank Aaron State Trail passes through the City of Milwaukee's most densely populated and diverse census tracts. The Trail is within a 15 minute bike ride of over 415,000 people, of which 100,000 are children ages 18 and under. These adjacent neighborhoods are also home to some of the most at risk for childhood obesity, juvenile diabetes, asthma, and a myriad of other health issues. To help address these issues, FOHAST has sponsored free summer Bike Adventure Camps for over 1000 young people since 2008. Participating schools and organizations have included: Our Next Generation, West Allis Lincoln Intermediate School, Escuela Vieau School, Nativity Jesuit and Notre Dame Middle Schools, and Bruce Guadalupe School. There are 20-25 youth, ages 10-13, in each group of five camps offered every summer. Bikes, helmets and water bottles are provided.

The purpose of the two week camps is to educate youth in safe biking habits and to encourage use of the Trail by the youth and their families for recreation and improved health. Professionally trained instructors from the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin provide training that goes from the classroom to neighborhood streets and finally to the Trail. Rides progress in distance while introducing destinations such as Miller Park, Lake Michigan, Pettit Ice Center and the Soldiers Home Historic District. For some youth, this is their first time on a bike and may even be the first time they have experienced seeing Lake Michigan.

New for 2014 was a nutrition component developed by FOHAST board member Dr. Judy Springer from Milwaukee Area Technical College. Campers were treated to engaging mini lessons on healthy eating and enjoyed healthy snacks during riding breaks.

Quotes from thank you notes written by bike camp participants:

I liked bike week because we can get active and see nature. ~ Luis

One thing I learned is safety comes first. ~ Maricayla

I hope you keep this program do not ever shut it down. I need the exersice. ~ Nia

I had a blast at the trail for two weeks. ~ Reggie

Now that I know how to ride my bike safely on the roads I plan on making a trip with my whole family to the Hank Aaron State Trail. ~ Carlos

Thank you for the bottles and the helmets because if we hurted our heads in an accident we would have been in the hospital and if we didn't have water bottles we all would have been dehighdrated (dehydrated) because it's hot and it's summer! ~ Maryanna