Some local dads approached the City of Delta to revamp a local bike park and pump track. They were successful in working together to obtain materials and bring in an expert to design a new bike park. The timing could not have been better to give kids in our community something active to do during these pandemic times!
The final challenge remained: they needed people to help build and sculpt the tracks and jumps, in addition to continued maintenance. The organizers planned a work party to involve the community (advertised on Facebook and welcome to all) where kids, teens and parents came out with their shovels to help. They continued to hold weekly work parties to build and maintain the jumps and tracks.
My idea was to help with some of the practical needs for the work parties: If you feed them, (and equip them) they will come!
The funding from this neighbourhood grant has allowed me to nourish and energize the kids and families with cold drinks and pre-packaged snacks. I was also able to provide tools such as shovels, rakes and a hose for the kids to help with the maintenance of the jumps. It has been an inspiring experience to watch the kids take ownership in building this bike park. There are older teens teaching younger kids, families working side by side, and everyone feeling a sense of pride. The fact that I could reward them with some sustenance and equipment was a nice recognition of their efforts. They were so excited the day I brought the new hose- it was like Christmas!
However, the benefit of the Neighbourhood Small Grant was so much deeper than just providing snacks. Equipping these kids to build, sustain and take ownership of their bike park is a lesson that cannot be measured. I am truly grateful to the Delta Foundation and Vancouver Foundation for the funding for this project!
As a project leader, it was a great experience, and I will definitely apply again for future projects. My initial idea and proposal of a large work party and pizza party did not lend itself well to the guidelines and restrictions that COVID brought. I had to shift the focus slightly onto the smaller weekly work sessions and I provided them with small snacks and much needed cold drinks for several weeks. We realized what was really needed was equipment for the kids to keep coming and maintaining the park, so the majority of the funding went to that: an industrial hose (others kept getting broken at the connectors), 3 rakes, and a drag mat (generally used in baseball fields to keep the dirt level). The equipment is kept in a lock box from the City of Delta, and the kids who have been helping all have access to the box. The additional equipment has made all the difference in being able to maintain the park!