Richmond Cycling Corps Cycling Team Goes the Extra Mile
This month we choose to highlight the 10 youth from Richmond Cycling Corps in our Volunteer of the Month series. We are always excited to find that Volunteers can be found in new and wonderful ways; andPocahontas State Park staff and representatives from the Richmond Regional Ride Center did just that! They reached out to the Richmond Cycling Corps to bring an inner-city cycling team out to the park to perform trail maintenance on existing mountain biking trails.
Matt Crane, Development Director for Richmond Cycling Corp shared the following first-hand experience with us:
We had been at it with loppers clearing overhanging branches for a little under an hour when I saw the light bulb go off for Antonio Goode, a 16 year old member of our mountain bike racing team a participant in our Richmond Trail Corps conservation project at Pocahontas State Park. Actually, only cartoons get the light bulb, with human beings it usually looks more like a widening of the eyes. In either case, Antonio had just understood that the trails he enjoys riding and racing his mountain bike on are only there because people put hard work into creating and maintaining them. Work which he was about to spend three full days undertaking!
Richmond Cycling Corps volunteers work on existing mountain biking trails at Pocahontas State Park
The whole idea for this project came about during a brainstorming session between Richmond Regional Ride Center, and especially how it would affect the inner-city youth that the RCC program works with.
Then we got to thinking, “what can we do NOW to get these kids out there?”
The plan was formed to not only get youth from Richmond Public Housing down to Pocahontas to explore the resource there, but also to provide them with a positive work experience, an honest paycheck, and, we thought, a better understanding of how hard work begets success.
When we arrived at our Civilian Conservation Corps constructed campground (a fact not lost on our staff) at Pocahontas State Park, I was apprehensive. Surely, I thought, the bugs are going to cause a meltdown, and if not that, then it will have to be the lack of WiFi and television. Instead, I was pestered immediately with “when do we get so start working?”
Cycling team relaxes from a long ride on the mountain biking trails at Pocahontas
That, really, was the theme for the whole three days we were there. Kids never cease to amaze me. They ended up really enjoying the woods (for the most part) and they had a lot of fun living in their rustic cabins.
I think they missed their video games a bit, but I know that they also loved the darkness of the woods at night, and the replacement of a bug chorus for their usual neighborhood traffic sounds.
Looking at and can easily decry the apathy and malfeasance which seems pervasive. And yet, whengiven a chance to do some honest hard work, our kids from that part of the city were falling over themselves to prove that they deserved their paycheck. Best yet, they were able to look upon the section of trail which they had poured sweat into and see that it was completely different from when they had started.
It was a productive three days, and really, it went better than we could have hoped.
Richmond Cycling Corps owes a lot of gratitude to the Pocahontas State Park!