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5:06 AM Sun, Sept. 23rd

Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance sponsors summer youth programs

Mountain Biking

Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance (PMBA), a nonprofit promoting cycling in the Prescott area, has received support from Tucson-based Epic Rides and its annual Whiskey Off-Road races to further PMBA’s trail-building efforts for cyclists on the Prescott National Forest. Pictured, riders compete in the amateur races during the 2018 Whiskey Off-Road April 28 in Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier, file)

Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance (PMBA), a nonprofit promoting cycling in the Prescott area, has received support from Tucson-based Epic Rides and its annual Whiskey Off-Road races to further PMBA’s trail-building efforts for cyclists on the Prescott National Forest. Pictured, riders compete in the amateur races during the 2018 Whiskey Off-Road April 28 in Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier, file)

Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance, or PMBA, a chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association, is sponsoring a ride/clinic series, as well as volunteer trail stewardship and paid trail internship programs, this summer in Prescott.

A nonprofit with a stated mission “to preserve, protect, and promote mountain biking, trail access and diverse riding opportunities on Prescott-area public lands through community education, advocacy, tourism and unified action,” PMBA has enjoyed success with trail planning and building, as well as recreational riding opportunities, since 2010.

This summer, PMBA’s starting a summer youth program “to engage Prescott-area youth in healthy outdoor recreation and community service.”

“We see a robust youth cycling/mentoring and trail-work program as key in fostering and facilitating healthy lifestyles among young people by encouraging them to ride for fun, [for] fitness, and to become engaged in their local community,” a PMBA flyer says. “By bringing new young riders into the sport of mountain biking, helping them to develop the skills and confidence to participate in a lifelong sport, and by instilling the value of contributing through volunteering in their community, we intend to make a strong and lasting impact on youth who might otherwise not have these opportunities.”

What follows are brief descriptions and goals for the ride/clinic as well as the volunteer and paid trail internship programs.

Ride/Clinic Series and Volunteer Trail Stewardship program: Beginning at the end of the spring’s public school semester, the program will conduct twice-weekly rides, clinics and classes (three hours each) with adult supervision, coaching and mentoring. When the school year starts back up again in August, offerings will switch to once a week.

Participants, who are admitted free of charge, will be placed into appropriate groups based on age and experience, and presented with suitable terrain and goals to bolster their cycling skills. Prescott-area IMBA- and NICA-trained/certified coaches will lead the ride groups and skill clinics.

Children will also be introduced to once-monthly trail-work volunteer days, which show them the rewards and value of volunteerism in general and, in particular, trail stewardship. Experienced crew leaders from PMBA, Prescott National Forest and the City of Prescott coordinate, organize and lead these workdays, which typically last four hours.

Organizers say the program’s goals include:

—Engaging 75-plus students ages 10-18 in ongoing program activities.

—Having them participate in four to eight hours of volunteer trail work over the course of the program. Trail-work days are scheduled for May 13, June 2, July 15, Aug. 11, Sept. 29, Oct. 21, Nov. 17 and Dec. 9.

—Collaborating with other local youth-oriented nonprofits to recruit participants, including underserved, low-income and at-risk youth.

—Helping youth develop fitness and confidence in their riding abilities, expanding their knowledge of local riding opportunities, and becoming independent and self-reliant in maintaining their bikes.

—Developing a loaner bike and safety equipment program to ensure a safe, fun and low-cost riding experience for all participating children.

Paid Trail Internship Program: Working with community partners, PMBA is initiating an internship program to recruit, train and field a paid six-week youth conservation corps-style trail crew. Ten youth crew members will be trained to Prescott National Forest volunteer standards, and they will be supervised full time by paid adult crew leaders who are contracted and trained by Prescott National Forest.

“We are seeking to engage young people in significant conservation activities in order to develop a land-stewardship ethic, provide the opportunity for hands-on job training and education, promote service to the community and provide meaningful summer employment,” the flyer says.

Summer youth program partners include, but may not be limited to, PMBA, Prescott National Forest, City of Prescott, Yavapai County Educational Services Agency, Soul Ride Mountain Biking, Prescott College, Arizona Serve, Yavapai Regional Medical Center and Tucson-based Epic Rides.

The PMBA flyer adds that two local foundations have provided $20,000 in grants to implement the program, which is contingent on PMBA conducting a matching fundraising campaign. PMBA is seeking businesses and individual sponsors’ involvement to help pay for the program by the time it starts in late May.

For more information and/or to get involved, contact PMBA’s Brent Roberts at 928-713-9825 or email him at: wbrentroberts59@gmail.com. PMBA is on the Web at: prescottmtb.com.