Trips for Kids Youth, Staff and Volunteers Experience Sea Otter Classic

 Trips for Kids Executive Director Robert Ping (pictured in first row second from left) joins Trips for Kids participant youth, directors and volunteers in photo in front of sponsor DirtRag Magazine's booth.at the Sea Otter Classic.

Trips for Kids Executive Director Robert Ping (pictured in first row second from left) joins Trips for Kids participant youth, directors and volunteers in photo in front of sponsor DirtRag Magazine's booth.at the Sea Otter Classic.

Let me just say the world, WOW. That pretty much sums up the week of April 15 as we prepared for one of the bike industry premiere events - Sea Otter Classic.

This was my first time experiencing the Sea Otter Classic and it was quite something to behold if you have never attended one. If you are a member of the biking community in any way, you  really have no idea what you are missing until you have witnessed the event first-hand. Known as a sprawling and energetic “celebration of cycling,” Sea Otter is cycling’s North American season opener. Professional and amateur athletes alike make the annual pilgrimage to Sea Otter to participate in some of the sport’s most competitive and enduring events. Hundreds of pro cyclists, including national, world, and Olympic champions, attend Sea Otter to race and meet with fans. 

This was Trips for Kids ninth year participating as an exhibitor at the Sea Otter Classic. Due to our continued relationship with the Sea Otter Classic planning team, we were able to not only grow our exhibit space at the event this year, but also hold our very first first basic skills and safety clinic lead by Trips for Kids Marin Ride Leader and National Ride Consultant Adam Smith. In addition, we were provided the opportunity to hold our first ever Trips for Kids jamboree where Sea Otter utilized a private campsite area they have never opened before. Excited youth participants and chaperones from Trips for Kids Bulldog Riders in Redwood City, CA; Trips for Kids Marin from San Rafael, CA and one of our new chapters Trips for Kids Antelope Valley in Palmsdale, CA  began to ascend to our campsite area on late Friday evening where they pitched tents and slept through another night of anticipation of what the next days would bring.

Camper's worked together the next morning to prepare breakfast, pack their lunches, clean-up and review the expectations and schedule for the weekend. They also received some amazing gifts generously donated from some of our sponsors which included Trips for Kids branded water bottle's from Giant Bicycles, bike bells from Planet Bike, cinch backpacks from Clif Bar, hats and sunscreen from John Wayne Cancer Foundation and more! Our campers spent the following two days experiencing all the Sea Otter activities including watching world famous streets trial rider Danny MacAskill perform and who also took time to meet with some of our youth before his show.. Our campers also watched racing and some dual slalom competitions along with participating in some meet and greets and photo opportunities with our Trips for Kids sponsors.

Lots of folks passed through our Trips for Kids exhibit space where folks could purchase a variety of men's and women's clothing donated by various sponsors as well as Trips for Kids branded T-shirts, water bottles and magnets with proceeds all benefiting Trips for Kids. National team members who included Executive Director Robert Ping, Sponsor and Support Manager Andy Phelps and Chapter and Marketing Coordinator Amy Carver along with Trips for Kids Buellton Chapter Director Paul Smith, Trips for Kids Chapter Director Anthony Taylor and Trips for Kids Midcoast Maine Director Cary Huggins helped field program questions throughout the weekend

We even had a few chapter directors top by to say "hello" and offer support including Trips for Kids Denver Chapter Director Wendy Stewart and our new Trips for Kids Tulare County Chapter Co-directors Brandon and Jaime Baeza. 

During the first day of Sea Otter on Thursday, April 19, we also held a day long director's retreat at the Colton Inn in Monterey where we discuss multiple topics including updates from the national team, marketing efforts, chapter needs and challenges, along with sharing best practices and answering questions. The level of support in the room was amazing and it was wonderful to finally meet people that we have been talking to for months over the phone. 

Our founder, Marilyn Price, made a special appearance at our Wednesday night gathering.

National staff walked away inspired by our chapter directors, programming staff, volunteers and our youth. Our involvement in the Sea Otter Classic allowed us to talk to our sponsors in person, reach-out to potential new partners, connect with existing supporters as well as to help educated new people about our Trips for Kids mission. We look forward to next year's event.

Amy Carver