Trips for Kids established its 68th chapter in Ladysmith, Wisconsin in conjunction with the Ladysmith-Hawkins School District, serving the district's disadvantaged youth.
Trips for Kids (TFK) is a California-based non-profit organisation that uses mountain biking trips to promote self-confidence and environmental awareness among disadvantaged youth.
"Working directly with a school district enables a chapter to connect immediately with kids who can benefit from the programme," said Marilyn Price, TFK founder and director. "It also instantly establishes Trips for Kids as a community-based youth development resource."
The TFK chapters in Trinidad, California and Pueblo Pintado, New Mexico are also associated with their local school district and TFK Triangle in Durham, North Carolina regularly works with its local middle schools. The TFK chapter-school relationships allow students multiple opportunities to participate in the TFK rides and reinforce their relationship with the organisation.
"Since bicycles and kids are a natural match, young people can be more open to learning when bikes are involved," Price added. "An ultimate goal would be to integrate bicycling into the physical education departments of schools throughout the country."
Acording to TFK, TFK chapters formed in conjunction with a school have found that it is easier to reach some students on the trail than it is in the classroom. Students at schools affiliated with TFK have improved behaviour, attendance and relationships with their teachers.
Matt Bunton, president of the Ladysmith TFK chapter, said, "The effort to involve the students in Trips for Kids will ultimately increase their ownership of their school and further their academic and social development.
"As they participate in this programme, the students will learn how to successfully conquer challenges on the trail and in other areas of their life."
More than 50,000 disadvantaged young people have participated in TFK's day-long cycling adventures that take them through nearby parks and outdoor recreation areas.
According to Price, in addition to vigorous outdoor activity, they also enjoy the encouragement of caring adults who teach them about the environment, the importance of healthy choices and satisfaction of accomplishing their goals.
For more information, visit www.tripsforkids.org.