Lose The Training Wheels camp begins Sunday (July 29)

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Lose the Training Wheels™, a program that teaches individuals with disabilities to independently ride a conventional two-wheel bicycle, will start its inaugural eastern Oregon camp this Sunday. The five-day camp sessions will take place July 29 through Aug. 3 at Armand Larive Middle School in Hermiston.

Lose the Training Wheels, Inc., is a national non-profit that works with local organizations to host camps in their communities. The Hermiston School District, in coordination with the InterMountain Education Service District, has partnered with Lose the Training Wheels (LTTW) to bring the camp to Hermiston. LTTW uses adapted equipment, trained professionals and volunteers. With 75 minutes of instruction over five days, approximately 85 percent of campers learn to ride a conventional bicycle independently.

The camp in Hermiston already has 12 registered participants, with more than 20 volunteers signed up to help. In addition, eastern Oregon’d LTTW has received more than $10,000 in grants and donations from organizations, including the Wildhorse Foundation, Hermiston Kiwanis, IMESD, and the Hermiston School District, as well as several local individuals.

This is the first time the camp will be held in eastern Oregon. Hermiston mother Cindy Middleton enrolled her son, Rian, in the LTTW program in Longview, Wash., last year, which was the closest program site she could find. After a Rian’s positive experience with the program in Washington, Middleton worked with Brian Schimel, Rian’s principal at Highland Hills Elementary School in Hermiston, and the IMESD, which provides special education services to school districts, to bring the program to Hermiston.

“I was not sure what to expect from the LTTW program and Rian's experience,” Middleton said. “We were simply looking for a bike riding opportunity that would address his challenges. During camp, I would watch Rian and other riders and think of the many friends in eastern Oregon who would be able to participate in such a program. Learning to ride his bike not only created another chance for family fun, but has given Rian lifelong transportation, independence, and confidence.”

To be eligible to enroll, participants must be at least 8 years old. Participating children must have a disability, but be able to walk without an assistive device such as a walker or cane. Participants must be able to side-step quickly to both sides, and must have a minimum inseam measurement of 20 inches and weigh no more than 220 pounds. All participants must wear a properly-fitted bike helmet at all times when on the bicycles, and will be most successful if willing to follow instructions and have a desire to ride a bicycle.

To learn more about LTTW, please click here.