In a world filled with hustle and bustle, it's easy to overlook the simple pleasures that come from giving back to the community. For me, one of the most rewarding experiences has been volunteering as a coach with the Patterson Park Development Team and the Panther Outdoor Society. Both teams are based in Baltimore City and provides inner city youth the opportunity to participate in the Maryland Interscholastic Cycling League (MICL). MICL is one the many leagues across the country under the umbrella of National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). Their misssion of "Getting More Kids on Bikes" resonates with me. The sheer joy and fulfillment that I get from volunteering and coaching are immeasurable!
I want to share how this journey has not only enriched the lives of the young people I interact with but how it has also brought immense happiness into my own life.
Connecting with Young People
There's something magical about interacting with young minds filled with energy and enthusiasm. As a volunteer and coach, I've had the privilege of witnessing these young folks grow both as individuals and as mountain bike riders. Watching their progress from wobbly beginnings to confidently conquering challenging trails is incredibly gratifying. The connections formed with these young riders go beyond our time riding bikes together – they're bonds grounded in shared experiences, mutual respect, and a common love for the outdoors and mountain biking.
Building Confidence and Character
Coaching goes far beyond teaching technical skills; it's about fostering a sense of self-belief and resilience. Seeing them overcome fears, set and achieve goals, and develop a strong work ethic is amazing to behold. These life skills extend beyond the trails and carry over into their everyday lives, preparing them to face life's many challenges head-on and strive for excellence.
It Takes A Village
The beauty of being part of MICL is the sense of community it creates. The riders, their families, fellow coaches, and volunteers all come together to form a supportive network. Through teamwork and camaraderie, we not only uplift the young riders but also uplift each other. This community becomes a safe space where everyone's achievements are celebrated and setbacks are met with encouragement.
Letting My Inner Child Out to Play
As adults, we often get caught up in the seriousness of life's responsibilities. Volunteering as a coach has allowed me to tap into a childlike sense of play and wonder. Guiding the riders through trails, sharing laughs, and embracing the outdoors has reminded me of the simple joys that can sometimes get lost in the complexities of "adulting".
Leaving a Lasting Impact
Perhaps one of the most fulfilling aspects is the knowledge that I'm playing a role in shaping these young riders' lives. I have the opportunity to inspire a lifelong love for physical activity, nature, and healthy competition. Knowing that the lessons they learn and the memories we create together on the trails will stay with them as they grow into adults brings a sense of purpose that's hard to replicate elsewhere. I've been moved to tears more times than I can count. It's truly a blessing!
Service is the Rent We Pay for Living
Volunteering and coaching has opened my eyes to the incredible power of giving back and investing in the next generation. The joy I feel when watching these kids flourish, both on and off the trails, is a constant reminder that true happiness often lies in selflessly contributing to the well-being of others.
Through shared experiences, personal growth, and the creation of a supportive community, this journey has brought immense fulfillment into my life, making every moment spent with each of these kids truly priceless.
When you focus on being a blessing, God makes sure that you are always blessed in abundance. 🙏🏾❤️