Designer Genes of North Dakota and Anne Carlsen are working together to host a week-long I-Can Bike Camp in Bismarck. The camp teaches individuals with disabilities how to ride bicycles independently.
Bike riding is a freedom sometimes taken for granted. For parents of children with disabilities, bike riding may not be a skill they think their children will experience. However, the I-Can Bicycle Camp helps parents and riders believe in themselves and learn to ride a bike.
The camp is held every other year to increase the number of participants. This helps spread the cost for the program out among more participants. This year, executive director of Designer Genes, Roxanne Romanick is anticipating 16 participants, but says they’ve had as many as 26 people in the camp in past years.
“It’s a pretty financially and labor intensive effort to bring the camp here. It costs about $12,000. We bring in a national franchise program they bring the fleet of bikes and two staff,” says Roxanne Romanick.
Roxanne’s daughter Elizabeth Romanick completed the camp two years ago and is now a volunteer.
As a volunteer, Elizabeth encourages current riders to get up and do it again.
“Personally I went into this camp and felt like a brand new person who can ride a bike. Everyone was crying, everyone was bursting into tears and my mom was on live crying her head off. It’s neat to seeing people are proud of who I am,” says Elizabeth Romanick.
The camp is also open to adults with disabilities that never got an opportunity to learn how to ride a bike.
“You have to be eight to be in the camp but our oldest rider was fourty-seven so people think it’s just for children. We also have adults too who learn how to ride bike when they’ve never had the chance to do that before,” explains Roxanne Romanick.
“I love this camp because it boosts our confidence and independence,” says Elizabeth Romanick.
Since the camp can sustain 40 riders, there’s still room to sign up this week. Camp begins today, July 26th, and lasts until July 30th at the VFW Sports Center.
For more information about being a rider or volunteer, visit their website.