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Kids soak up confidence learning new skills

Freewheeling summer fun

Childhood memories of summers past are filled with experiences that let us recall seemingly endless, balmy, sun drenched days. OK, maybe there were a few rainy days thrown in, but there were hours romping at the beach, backyard barbecues and the heady sense of freedom that came from racing through the neighbourhood on a bike or splashing around in the local pool.

Learning to swim and ride a bike are rites of passage for most children, ones that instil a sense of confidence through accomplishment.

Helping children achieve that is the foundational goal for Pedalheads, which offers bike day camps and swimming lessons for children ages two to 12 in the Lower Mainland, and this summer is introducing the bike camps in Kelowna, says Mike Chan, the company’s marketing manager.

“We want to help these kids gain confidence and develop that love of biking,” Chan says. “Kelowna is such an incredible place for biking, and it opens up lifelong exploring and adventure for families when the kids enjoy it.”

Pedalheads, which was established in 1986, has a unique approach that has been finessed in their almost 30-year history. They create the curriculum, and all staff training and development is done within the company, which has expanded from the original Vancouver location to all over North America. The ratio of participants to instructor is small; about five to one for bike camps with Pedalheads’ established COVID-19 safety protocols.

The bike camps are geared to children ages three and up. And day camp programs have a range of levels, with their most popular level aiming to help kids shed their bike’s training wheels by the end of the week. Progression is built into the instruction at each level, and there’s a report card at the end.

“There are outcomes that we’re trying to achieve,” Chan explains. “There are specific things that we’re hoping for the child to learn by that time. For example, they’re able to ride in a straight line for a certain amount of time without falling off; that they can stop really quickly on a dime if we have a spot where they need to stop and not skid.”

Though the intent is for children to become more skilled at the activities, the Pedalheads approach centres around making the experience truly fun to reinforce the love of biking.

“There are very specific things that we’re trying to establish for the kids at the level they are at, but we’re doing it in a really fun way,” Chan says. “It’s not like we’re drill sergeants where you have to do this or do that.”

Children may be the focus at Pedalheads, but the company also structures its scheduling to assist parents. Day camps can be half or full days, and before and after-care is also offered, allowing parents flexibility to work around child-care scheduling.

Whether parents opt for a half or full day, one week or two, Chan says that Pedalheads hopes that there is a life skill that is gained from the experience that the parents can enjoy with their children.

“A lot of times parents may have struggled in the past trying to teach their child, but put them in a different environment with us and they’re able to thrive and do well. Then they want to bike more and show their parents. They get to go on a bike ride together and don’t have the stress of trying to teach them.”

To learn more about Pedalheads’ day camp programs, levels offered and space availability, visit www.pedalheads.com.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



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