This post has nothing to do with business issues. It has to do with kids who lit up an arena today with sunshine that rivals the brightness of a midmorning in June.
I offered to take pictures of kids today who are learning to ride bicycles. Some traveled quite a distance to the Palmer Arena in Danville to learn this new skill. They used special bikes because they are special kids. Now I am not using the term “special” in a patronizing way; I sincerely mean that they are special, the way a piece of Dove chocolate found on your pillow is special, the way getting flowers from a secret admirer is special. Special equals extraordinary, unusual, not commonplace. Special here soars, is beautiful, is radiant. These kids are radiant.
Each child at the Lose the Training Wheels camp has a disability that makes bike riding more difficult. A few examples: Some have autism; others have cerebral palsy; still others have Down Syndrome. The program even services kids who have had a traumatic experience and are now terrified of learning to ride in the conventional way.
Lose the Training Wheels is an organization of bike techs, therapists, and all-around good hearted, well-trained people who believe in the power of meaningful accomplishment and the freedom of two-wheeled travel. They bring in bicycles with a sort of rolling pin back wheel mechanism and a variety of learning aids for the students. The kids go through an incremental program that eases them into the feeling of balance and speed. They have spotters and runners who provide encouragement and protection. The one-on-one attention, the expertise of the LTTW staff, and the specialized bikes add up to a winning formula: about 80% of the kids who participate in a LTTW camp are able to ride balance a bike on their own for at least 90 feet. This statistic is, to my mind, significant.
(Funny, though — you can’t measure the smiles and tears of the onlooking parents with a statistic. There is no ruler to measure that kind of pride and delight.)
Imagine what a gift this is to the students’ cognition, to their self esteem, to their confidence, to their sense of independence, to their connection to the world.
Interacting with kids who sit a little taller with their chin a little higher, smiling from ear to ear, makes the program worth every effort, every second.
Today was day one, and I’m pretty sure that this is going to be a great week. Thanks for the sunshine, kids.