Part of our internship program involves each intern writing a weekly blog about a particular topic they’ve learned or discovered. Today, Jack Cunningham, interning with us this summer from Indiana University, has tackled the blog:
People often ask me, how is it working with Nine13sports? Well coming from a background full of youth development, right off the bat I was a natural fit with Nine13sports. I have been working around summer camps and kids my entire life so the youth development aspect of Nine13 was a natural draw for me. It all started with the overall mission of Nine13sports, “To fully engage the opportunities of bicycling for multi-faceted teaching youth; to promote the overall development and well-being of the youth with whom we are privileged to interact; to promote youth respect, advocacy and involvement in their community; and to be responsible stewards of the funds entrusted by benefactors.” You can see in this mission the strong tie Nine13sports creates between youth development and powerful morals that have been instilled in me since my days at the YMCA.
As well as the general youth development aspect, their programming was also a huge draw for me. Being from a camp background, I am always looking for a new way to grab kids attention and instill positive values in them. The bike programming here captures our youths attention like I have never seen. They are able to interact with each other in ways that none of them are very familiar with and also ride a bike, which is a huge draw for some kids. It surprises me how many of these kids actually do not have bikes at home. Riding bikes for me is synonymous with being a child, so to be able to really introduce a bike into a child’s life shows me how important our work really is.
You might normally think of Nine13’s programming as naturally facilitative, but this is not the case. The programming we run is definitely very different than anything I have ever done before but that is not to say I have any less of an impact with the kids. We are still able to instill values such as sportsmanship, integrity, encouragement and respect just as I would normally. Our unique programming gives me the chance to drive home these values, reaching more kids than I ever have before.