Bear Camp Freedom Riders
Mountain biking and football are two sports that refugee youth in Boise are learning to love. IRC Boise’s youth program, in partnership with local groups, offers refugee teens the opportunity to learn these sports that are so popular in the community.
August 9-13 the third annual Bear Camp Freedom Riders day camp will be held. Thirty IRC teens will spend a week learning bicycle maintenance and safety and road and trail etiquette. In ability groups, they become familiar with Boise’s expansive foothills trail system, riding longer and more challenging trails as the week progresses. All participants get refurbished bikes, helmets, water bottles, shirts, and more. Students come away from the camp with heightened self-confidence and a new, inexpensive and accessible form of recreation.
Bear Camp Freedom Riders is having a fundraising event on April 26th to help support the camp. Muffy Davis, four-time medalist at the Paralympics in skiing and motivational speaker, will be the featured keynoter and a film of the 2009 Bear Camp will be shown. The event will take place in the Jordan Ballroom at Boise State University from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. The cost is $10.
In addition to being outdoor recreation oriented, Boise is an avid football town, and a local semi-pro team, the Treasure Valley Spartans, will run their second annual football camp as a part of IRC’s after-school program at the Boise Language Academy. Boys learn the fundamentals of each position, the rules of the game and try their hand at playing American football. Last year, four boys who participated in the camp went on to join their schools’ teams when they transferred from the Language Academy to their home schools. More than just learning a sport and keeping fit, it affords refugee boys an opportunity to be a part of a team, having coaches and teammates who will mentor them and be their friends, and an instant group to which they belong as they enter a new and unfamiliar school.
IRC Boise is fortunate to have wonderful community partnerships with groups such as Bear Camp Freedom Riders mountain bikers, led by Tanya Rush, and the Treasure Valley Spartans, led by Dane Knickrehm, who share our vision of helping refugee youth find meaningful recreation opportunities in their new home city.