OKLAHOMA CITY - This is the first time in three years the iCan Bike Camp has come to Oklahoma City. It provides an opportunity for children with special needs to learn and experience an activity many of us grew up loving to do.
“We were looking for a camp for our daughter Abigail, and the closest camp was in Arlington and we looked into that last year, and it was already full so I thought maybe we should try to bring a camp to Oklahoma City," Patricia Rogers, Camp Co-director for iCan Bike Camp in Oklahoma City.
So, Patricia Rogers and a representative from the Edmond Kiwanis Club brought in the iCan Shine, a national nonprofit organization that trains folks with disabilities how to ride a bike.
"It's a very gentle gradual progression. If you think about going from training wheels to a two-wheel bicycle, it's a pretty big jump, so this is a safe way for them to be able to feel that instability and let their bike and their own balance do the teaching,” said Brianne Henrichs, floor supervisor for iCan Shine.
A professor from the University of Illinois invented the bikes. 80% of the riders will leave the week-long camp knowing how to ride a bike on their own. And that's the case for 14-year-old Abigail Rogers.
"I rode a Tandem with Ben and then I rode a roller bike and then I rode a big bike and then I rode my bike,” Abigail said.
And the organization says the benefits are endless.
"You see all of their confidence build. It goes from an 'I can't' to an 'I can' mentality. You get kids that say 'This is awesome! I'm doing it!' All of those things are coming out of their mouths which is a huge benefit to their self-esteem,” Henrichs said.
"It has been amazing just watching all of them. Just the four in his group go from these little rolling pin things to riding a regular bike in four days. It's been amazing,” Krista Palmer, a parent, said.
Rolling into independence for these children with special needs.
The organizers tell us they're going to do it again in Oklahoma City next summer. It will be open for children and adults.
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