“Shifting Gears”

Rock HillLast week South Carolina State Coordinator Ashley Bradt led a “Brown Bag” meeting in Rock Hill, South Carolina.  The meeting was held at the city’s Novant Health BMX Supercross Track located in the Riverwalk community. The “brown bag” was hosted by Hope Matthews an Environmental Educator with the City of Rock Hill.

As we drove up from Charleston,  I wondered what the interpretive connection would be to a world class BMX facility. Hope soon told us about an innovative 5th grade program that combines outdoor skills (bike riding), exercise, getting outside, history, physics, engineering, and a ride along the Catawba River.

Busses bring  25 excited 5th graders to the facility.  The kids go through a basic bike skills course before taking a ride through the Riverwalk community down to the trail system.  Once on the trail system the 5th graders learn about the Catawba River and its connection to hydropower, grist mills, ferry crossings, and force and motion as they navigate hills in this immersive experience.

Where many of us may reminisce of a time when we took family bike rides and developed a connection to the outdoors others may not get this experience. This program is a great package as it integrates so many wonderful things for the 5th graders such as, getting outside, exercising, and setting personal goals for some. While the kids are having fun they’re also getting some good history, physics, and standards in there “along for the ride.”

The beauty of these brown bag lunches is an affordable way  to connect with peers, see innovative programming, get out of the office hustle, and experience other models in our field.

Great job to you and your team Hope!


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