iCan Shine Bike Camp is a great resource for families with children who have special needs.
A special thank you to Sarajane Brognano for sharing information about this resource, which she is directly involved with.
iCan Shine Bike Camp is a weeklong bike camp hosted in the Buffalo area each summer. It is designed to teach children and adults with special needs to ride a traditional two-wheeled bicycle without training wheels. Learning to ride a bicycle is an important milestone for children and provides an independent form of transportation for adults. Unfortunately, it is a not a skill that is taught to people with special needs at school or day programs. That’s where we come in!
Campers are assigned 2-4 volunteers to teach and cheerlead them throughout the week. On Monday and Tuesday, campers ride specially adapted bicycles that cannot tip over to teach them to balance gradually. On Wednesday and Thursday, as their confidence builds, they switch to a weighted two-wheeled bicycle with a spotting handle. Volunteers spot them as they ride and help them learn more balance and build speed. On Friday most campers are up on their own two-wheeled bicycle and learning independent riding skills including starting and stopping.
The camp runs for one week between the end of the traditional school year and the beginning of the summer school session. Each camper signs up for one session, which lasts an hour and fifteen minutes and meets each day of the week. Campers must be at least 8 years of age by the start of the camp and there is no upper age limit. The camper must have a disability, but there is no “type” of disability that we serve. Individuals with ADHD, sensory processing disorders, speech & hearing disorders, stroke/TBI, as well as developmental disabilities are all welcome. The only needs we cannot serve are those who are not physically able to ride a traditional bicycle such as those who cannot walk unassisted. The camp costs $150 if registered by June 1st and can be claimed through Medicaid Family Reimbursement. Sessions are filled first-come first-served and our camp often fills to a waiting list, so interested families should register as soon as possible. More information is available at the national website for iCan Shine .
While we are mostly looking for riders right now, we also have a need for monetary and bicycle donations, volunteers to run with riders, and volunteers to serve on the planning committee.
You can learn more about ICan Shine Bike Camp by reading their brochure here.