This is our website: www.HammersMTB.com
The team hopes to attract a wide range of students between 6th and 12th grades, of all genders and identifications.
Mountain biking is the fastest growing youth sport in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Cycling League (PICL) is in it’s third year, and has doubled in size each year. In 2017 (the Hammers inaugural year) the league had around 40 teams and 800 student team members. That number is poised to increase dramatically again in 2018, and for some years to come.
The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) is the lead organization in this effort, with teams that started on the west coast and have been making their way east for the past 15 years. NICA provides the framework and insurance for each of the state leagues. Presently there are NICA leagues in 22 states. You can learn more about NICA and Leagues using this link: http://www.nationalmtb.org/nica-leagues
The Hammers are a sports organization, with an atypical goal and organizational style, wrapped in an activity that is traditionally a bit “counter culture”.
Some of the ways, this sport and team is different:
1. On a NICA mountain bike team, we don’t care if kids ever race.
Six meets a season are available if our kids want to take advantage of the opportunity (and we hope they do…because it’s fun), but team members are free to simply come to practice and participate in our activities if they so choose…and that’s cool too.
2. Our Goal is simply to help kids love the outdoors.
We don’t do punishing practices (although some kids do want to get fit and do well at meets, and we find ways to accommodate that desire). But our “Prime Directive” is to get kids outside, riding bikes, fixing and building trails, and appreciating the world we live in. If we can do just that: we feel the team is a complete success!
3. No one “rides the pines”.
We have no tryouts or cuts. If you come out, we find a place for you. If you sign up for a race: you will race in an appropriate field of other students. Everyone participates and competes as they see fit, with the “Prime Directive” always in mind.
4. Parents can ride/practice with their kids
Name another sport where your parent or guardian can actually participate in practice? NICA allows this to happen once, simply with the signing of a waiver, and it can happen longer term, but completing the fairly simple “level 1” NICA coach certification program (which includes a background check).
Without assistance, mountain biking can be an expensive undertaking. Gear, travel costs, safety procedures, trainings, insurance all cost money. Spreading those costs out across a team of around 20 or so students can make the sport out of reach for students with limited means.
“Expensive sports” also have a way of limiting the involvement of minorities, the poor and other underserved populations. This is the last thing we want to do, as it does not serve our main Goals and Directives.
In 2017, organizers of the team are proud to report, that through partnership with local bike shops, the school district, sponsors, donors, parents and our grant applicant organization The Montour Area Recreation Commission (MARC) we were able to keep the costs of team membership down, through a program of free bikes (supplied by the school), free repairs for those same folks, and a series of “scholarships” that allowed all who wanted to race, do so without crippling cost to their families.
We want to be able to reproduce those initiatives and programs again in 2018, but without additional help, we fear we will fall short as the team continues to grow.
Any amount you can dedicate to the team would be helpful. Coaches estimate that it costs about $10,000/year to field the team, and that is not with any real “bells or whistles”. We hope we can count on your kind contribution to help offset those costs. Thank you in advance for your consideration.
- Mike ROSS
- Kelly Davenport
- Steve Mayernick
- Michael Domin
- Richard Good
Organizer and beneficiary
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