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Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, BCYC athletes and coaches were exploring new ways to bring strength, balance and community to their lives on and off the bike.

This last month has presented no shortage of challenges for our youth athletes and our youth cycling program. Our hearts are with all of those that have fallen ill, lost jobs, and faced unprecedented hardships because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an effort to stay connected, we want share some updates and reflections from the BCYC team, as well as ways you can participate with our now-virtual community. The honesty, support, leadership and dedication that youth have displayed through this tumultuous time has been a light in our weeks. We hope you’ll be equally as uplifted by the all the ways the team has rallied around each other.

The closure of Philadelphia schools brought BCYC’s spring launch momentum to a grinding halt. The impossibility of in-person programming had the potential to upend youth’s access to their team friendships and community, their coaches and mentors, and outdoor physical activity. Fortunately, our athletes and coaches are a most resilient bunch who use creativity and teamwork to bounce back from challenges with dedication and grace.

BCYC COMMUNITY MEETINGS

Within a week of school closures, the program staff and the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) hosted their first online Community Meeting. All Star youth, coaches, alumni, and parents attended, sharing personal check-ins and ideas for adapted programming to keep the team connected, engaged, and active during the quarantine. This first community meeting was an opportunity for us to practice sharing honest reflections about the ups and downs, the disappointments and uncertainties of this vulnerable time:

SASHA: “Not being able to do a lot of activities that I’m used to doing and being in the house for a long period of time is my biggest challenge.”

NIA: “All of the things myself and others worked hard for are coming to an end –  it’s hard. Nothing is the same anymore.”

SAHMEER: “It’s just really annoying that so much of our daily lives had to stop.”

Being able to share fears and disappointments with teammates and coaches not only teaches healthy habits about self reflection and emotional openness, it also eases the burden and allows youth to know that they are not alone in what they are going through.

Now BCYC hosts a Community Meeting every week to come together, support each other and get creative about what our upcoming virtual activities will look like. Yoga with Coach Blake and Mechanics Lessons with Coach Kieran have become weekly staples and favorites.

BCYC BINGO CHALLENGE

One super cool result of the first community meeting brainstorm is our BCYC Bingo Challenge! Every week we’ll be posting a new Bingo Card with 9 challenges. These challenges come out of the themes we discuss in our weekly Community Meeting, including self care, staying active, caring for teammates and families, and participating in at-home chores.

JAHIEM: BCYC has helped me first to stay active. Because of the Bingo card I have something to look forward to do every day. Yoga with Coach Blake was fun and I know there is more to come.”

Follow BCYC on Facebook, Instagram, or check back on the blog for each week’s Bingo card. If you’re following along with us and doing some of the activities on your own, tag us, we wanna know! Some of our members are even making their own weekly Bingo Challenges inspired by the youth’s great ideas.

Week 1 Bingo Challenge Winners Jahiem, Sahmeer and Lurena earned a 3-month subscription to Zwift, a virtual group ride and training app. Week 2 winners are receiving a fresh produce box mailed to their homes, which will help support our athletes and their families in maintaining healthy habits even when times are tough.

Amidst the choppy sea of this pandemic, we have found a level of closeness, youth leadership, and mutual care. As a team and community we are dedicated to continuing to find inventive ways to build positively together and support each of our athlete families in getting the resources they need to weather this storm.

If you have found yourself and your family on a dry raft or houseboat, we welcome donations to help keep our community and services afloat. A donation of $45 will allow us to send one more produce box to a grateful household, and a donation of $5,000 will provide a 4 year college scholarship to one of our high school seniors. A contribution anywhere on the range will make an impact. You may donate here.

Amanda Ruffner

Author

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