Learning to ride a bike is a childhood rites of passage. But it can be scary. Like really scary. What if you fall off? What if you get hurt? What if other kids laugh at you? It can take a lot of courage to try riding a bike in front of other kids.
So I’d like to introduce you to Emmy, who found a safe and supportive space in Guiding to to learn to ride a bike. Emmy showed all the courage in the world – and then some – when she decided to tackle this new skill when our unit was working on our Cycling badge.
Emmy was a little nervous, but we loaned her a bike with the pedals removed and let her practice balancing and scooting as the other girls arrived. By the time we started talking about safety, signalling, and some basic maintenance, her nervousness was almost all gone.
After we had all done our checks, the girls who were confident riders headed out with three Guiders to tour the bike paths near our meeting place. I stayed behind with a Unit Assistant and a determined Emmy. This was her first time trying to ride in years – she’d never shown much desire to ride before and was generally more interested in her books and her tablet. We put the pedals back on and let her figure that out for a few minutes. By her tenth push, she was able to keep the pedals going for a few cycles and finish without falling over!
Once she had her confidence built up, she tried starting herself off. That was more difficult… but she stuck to it. She was drenched with sweat, but high on success and praise. By the time the girls got back from a 45 minute ride, she was able to get herself started and keep on going!
Our girls are awesome. The moment they got back and they realized what Emmy had achieved, their praise came fast and loud. They were so pleased for their friend. They sat and watched Emmy keep working and cheered her on. (We may have disrupted the baseball practice across the street – just a little!)
The next day, we got an email from her mom thanking us. It turns out that not only did Emmy come home excited about her new skill and wanting a bike, but she inspired her brother who now wants to give biking a try, too.
I am very grateful for the safe, secure, supportive, empowering environment that Girl Guides gives our amazing girls. And I’m so thrilled for Emmy, who has come such a long way since she was one of my first Sparks a few years ago. Riding a bike gives kids such freedom and Emmy is on her way!
Guest post by Cathy Hirose. Cathy is a Guider for 312th Guides and 308th Sparks in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Guiding offers a safe and supportive space for all girls. Register now for the 2017-18 Guiding year.