By Jennifer M Caprioli, IMCOMJune 9, 2011
FORT DRUM, N.Y., June 10, 2011 -- Fort Drum youths had a chance to hit the trails and learn about bicycle safety during a ride-along activity with the post's bike patrol, June 3, 2011.
As part of Fort Drum's Child, Youth and School Services' ongoing partnership with post organizations, the EDGE, which stands for the Experience, Develop, Grow and Excel Program, is offering a hike and bike activity throughout June, on Mondays and Fridays for students in grades 6-9.
"It's a good partnership. (Bike patrol members) are out in the neighborhoods all the time, so it's a good way for them to get to know the kids, and it's a good way for kids to learn about what (bike patrols) are doing," explained Lori McKenna, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation partnership specialist.
"Safety-wise, it shows (the youths) what we expect and what the regulations on post state," added David Shannon, bike patrol coordinator with the Directorate of Emergency Services’ Law Enforcement Division.
According to the regulations, bicyclists are required to wear a helmet and a PT or reflective belt. Elbow and knee pads also are recommended, but are not required.
"Our (bike patrols) wear all the safety gear you're supposed to have. And for an adult to wear the gear and be a positive role model is a good way to show the kids (how to be safe)," Shannon said.
He also said the partnership is important because teaching youths about bicycle safety will hopefully cut down on injuries.
"A lot of the kids don't know the rules of the road, so this way, they learn the rules throughout the course of the month," McKenna said.
"(The youths) will also learn a little about what (the police) do," McKenna added, noting that it's important for the Law Enforcement Division personnel to develop a positive relationship with the children.
McKenna said they plan to hold a quick briefing before each session to teach youths about different safety tips, such as bicycle hand signals and what to do when approaching a stop light.
Friday's introductory ride helped to familiarize the children with the bicycles and helped staff members evaluate the fitness levels of the children, McKenna noted.
"Our (goal) is to increase their fitness over the course of the month and show (the children) that there are other activities where they can get some exercise," she said, adding that she wants the children to find a lifetime fitness activity that they enjoy.
McKenna said that not all the slots are filled for the ride-along activity. She invites parents to call if they would like to sign up their child for the Monday and Friday activities. She noted that there are a limited number of slots, and participation is on a first-come, first-served basis.
The EDGE program is available to children registered with Child, Youth and School Services. The program is free for youths in grades 6-12, and there is a $5-an-hour fee for children in grades 1-5.
Parents or guardians may enroll children in programs at Parent Central Services at Clark Hall, the EDGE program office on MWR Drive, or the FMWR web site at www.drummwr.com.