Sharing the passion for riding

Mountain bikers from Elevation Outdoors’ Live to Ride program take a break to pose for a photo. The program is in its fourth year and, according to Elevation Outdoors president Tori Hanson, is running smoother than ever. - Contributed
Mountain bikers from Elevation Outdoors’ Live to Ride program take a break to pose for a photo. The program is in its fourth year and, according to Elevation Outdoors president Tori Hanson, is running smoother than ever.
— image credit: Contributed

Experience has paid off for Elevation Outdoors’ Live to Ride 2011 program, and the ride is smoother than ever.

Live to Ride 2011 allows underprivileged youth in the Okanagan to experience exciting mountain biking adventures.

Tori Hanson, president of Elevation Outdoors, said that the program is in its fourth year, and it’s better than ever.

“It’s a little bit of a new delivery this year,” said Hanson.

“We’ve got a one-on-one mentor style program. Each volunteer leader is paired with a youth and that way it makes it more flexible for schedules.

“When they can work out a ride time together, they meet up with another pair (and ride). It makes it a lot easier to facilitate in terms of flexibility.”

Hanson said that she ran into problems in the past because sometimes the scheduled days for riding conflicted with the kids’ schedules.

She also mentioned that previous years youth would attend because there was no direct communication with their mentors to keep them accountable. The new system has been much more efficient.

“It’s actually worked out quite well in terms of getting the rides in. We’re about three quarters of the way through the program now, they seem to all have had good rides.”

Hanson mentioned that part of the challenge has been finding rides that are suitable for the kids’ skill levels.

“The first three years we were trying to find our feet in terms of what works for the kids and what are good rides to do. Now, a lot of our volunteers—who have been working with us for the four years—are super familiar with what is good in terms of challenging rides.”

To qualify for Elevation Outdoors’ free Live to Ride program—or Learn to Shred program, in the winter—applicants must either be a foster child, have parents who receive social assistance or have parents who are financially disadvantaged.

Helping underprivileged youth isn’t a new concept for Hanson.

“I used to work with youth in schools. I started doing volunteer work with more underprivileged youth and I found it very rewarding. The kids that really needed the help, really appreciated it. When they get inspired, they get really inspired.”

Hanson didn’t hesitate to create Elevation Outdoors when she saw a need in Kelowna.

“When I moved to Kelowna, I saw that there was a gap here: There’s a lot of kids in Kelowna that fit into that underprivileged category and don’t have the ability to go do things like mountain bike.”

Elevation Outdoors is a completely volunteer effort.

“Everybody who works with the organization—from the board to running the program—is a volunteer.

“All of our volunteers are avid mountain bikers or snowboarders. They want to give back to the community and share their love of what they do with people who would never get the chance.”

Hanson is proud that Elevation Outdoors has been a success.

“We’ll be coming into our fifth year, so it’s a big milestone in terms of sticking around and making it through five years of running a nonprofit. We’re looking forward to next season.”

Elevation Outdoors will hold their third annual Reason for the Season Gala on Nov. 5.

For more information about Elevation Outdoors, contact Tori Hanson at 250-808-1626.


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