This year Start the Cycle has double the kids!
Last year was the very first year for the program.
And now that the organization has their first year under their belt, Start the Cycle is back, better than ever."I wanted to do this program because I love biking, and I thought it would be a fun thing to do," said Juliette Kimmes, 10 years old.
Start the Cycle is a way to show at-risk youth how to be part of the community, and is designed to challenge them by introducing them to mountain biking.
"It sets boundaries and goals and gives them a chance to work one on one with some mentors and see other bike riders,' said Laura MacDonald, Mentor and Fundraising Coordinator.
Last year, the participants used donated bikes.
But organizers have been fundraising for months, and were able to earn enough to buy each kid a brand new bike this time!
"I think it's really fun and it's a great way to prepare for the Ore to Shore," said Kimmes.
Participants have been practicing weekly since March.
The ultimate goal is to have them complete the Ore to Shore in August.
And you can't have a group of kids without mentors!
At-risk youth often lack the kind of mentoring and challenge that allow them to experience success.
But with "Start the Cycle" participants have volunteers, donors, and mentors at their sides to learn new skills from.
"This year I think our mentor team has changed quite a bit. We have people that have heard about our program from last year, and they're coming back this year and saying 'how can I help?' Or brand new people that just heard about it and said, 'I think that's pretty cool, how do I get involved?,'" said MacDonald.
"I think they're really fun and some of them are really funny, and they will stay with you, there's always a leader and there's always a person in the back of everyone," said Kimmes.
Start the Cycle has 21 kids this year.
And they are still in need of volunteers to ride the trails, and be mentors.
For more information, click here or contact the Marquette YMCA at (906)227-9622.