Cascade Bicycle Club is a non-profit organization that promotes mountain biking in the pacific northwest. Every summer they run a series of Dirt Camps to encourage kids to take up the sport.
I started going to Dirt Camp 5 years ago and it is what got me into the sport and how I learned to ride. Dirt camps are week long camps held a Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park. At camp you learn how to ride, how to maintain and repair your bike, and how to build mountain bike trails.
Last year, I was so surprised and honored when Kids/Youth Coordinator Kat Sweet asked me to become a Junior Mentor. It’s pretty cool to be able to pass on what I know to younger riders. Junior Mentors are volunteers who assist camp coaches by demonstrating skills and following up the class to ensure no one gets lost. (I haven’t lost anyone yet.:)) Cascade Bicycle Club also does a camp just for girls. Mountain biking isn’t just for the boys you know!!!
My first time, I was pretty nervous. Would the kids like me? Would I be able to handle whatever they might do to me? But right from the start being a Junior mentor was so much fun! I really take the responsibility seriously and try my best to be a positive role model for the kids. Every time I help one of the campers learn something new or see them get a skill they have been working on – especially a drop or a jump – I get so fired up.
One of the highlights of camp is something called the Jump Jam – its held every Thursday. The Coaches and Mentors ride the double black diamond runs such as Semper Dirtacus and Double Trouble at Duthie. We show the kids how to do the big jumps in the park. It’s something I look forward to doing every week. I love it when the kids in my group chant my name and cheer for me when it is my turn to jump.
I can’t think of another summer job that I would like more and hope Cascade keeps asking me back.
When you love what you do – it just isn’t right to call it work!