Home Our Diocese St. Edmond’s Academy hosts camp that teaches bicycle riding, independence

St. Edmond’s Academy hosts camp that teaches bicycle riding, independence

Individuals with special needs learn how to ride bicycles with help from volunteers at the iCanBike Camp at St. Edmond's Academy on July 20. The camp runs through July 22. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

BRANDYWINE HUNDRED — Clients of the Down Syndrome Association of Delaware gathered at St. Edmond’s Academy the week of July 18 for the opportunity to learn to ride bicycles and the independence that comes with it.

The iCanBike Camp, a joint venture between the association and the nonprofit iCanShine, took place over five days at the all-boys school. iCanShine is an international organization that collaborates with local entities to teach individuals to bicycle, swim and dance. The organization conducts approximately 100 five-day camps in 35 states and Canada and serves nearly 3,000 people with special needs each year.

Volunteers and iCanShine employees guided individuals on bicycles around the air-conditioned gymnasium at St. Edmond’s. Each bicycle had a handle attached for a person walking behind the rider. Each day, the stability of the bicycles is adjusted to challenge the riders’ balance.

In addition to learning how to ride a bike, participants gain a sense of achievement and self-reliance that translates to other aspects of their lives, according to the iCanShine website.

According to iCanShine, approximately 80 percent of those who attend the camp are able to ride at least 75 feet with no assistance by the end of the five-day program.Family members are trained as “spotters” to continue the progress after the end of that week.