Written by Elaine Bothe, NWTA Instructor
The fun kept going into Fall during the NWTA’s Kids After School Program
Keeping the momentum going after a successful Summer Program run, the Northwest Trail Alliance’s inaugural After School program got off to a good start this fall. With mostly warm and dry weather with just a couple of days of very light rain, the biggest concern was the rapid loss of daylight!
We ran three sessions for four weeks at Gateway Green Bike Park in Portland, Oregon: on Tuesdays, the beginner “Green Geckos” skittered through the trails and pump track, Wednesdays the advanced intermediate “Flying Dragons” took off; and Thursdays, the intermediate “Leapin’ Lizards” romped around. And we made great use of almost every feature Gateway Green has to offer.
As we did during the summer camps, we met each day in the Fred Meyer parking lot. We warmed up playing Foot Down, riding across skinny boards and other fun features as we waited for everyone to arrive. Then we’d do a short skill lesson on body position, ratcheting, slow races, or cornering, for example. Each week we progressed to more difficult skills.
With the short time frame, once in the park, we usually rode a lap on the Fence Line Trail and worked up to the Cliff Line Trail, the rocky sections at the north end of the park, and Ted’s Traverse. The Toe Line Trail is always a favorite of the kids and is a great place to work on pumping. Then we rode the Skills Area and the big Pump Track. Timed laps on the pump track is a great way to measure progression!
Once again, it was great to see how much each kid progressed. Lately, we’ve enjoyed seeing many of the kids from Summer Camps and our After School Programs in the park when we’re not teaching. They’re showing off the park to siblings, friends, and parents — and telling their parents how to pump! Staffing this series included Myles Ridge, Deidre Iwersen, Pete Melton, Elaine Bothe, and Jennifer Phillips.
We want to relay a HUGE thank-you for the support of the City of Portland Parks & Recreation, TriMet, Fred Meyer, Trek Bicycles, Lolo Racks, REI, Project^, and all of the trail builders, volunteers, and Northwest Trail Alliance folks working behind the scenes to build and maintain Gateway Green!
Photos by Elaine Bothe and parents of the kids.