Why You Should Volunteer at Bike Camp – by Ethan Stalhuth

Ethan is a Junior at CBC High School and has volunteered at the Lydia Cox Memorial Bike Camp for two years. This year our Missouri Camp is June 1-5 and our Illinois Camp is June 8-12 If you are interested in volunteering at either of our camps, please contact Abby at 314.961.2504 ext. 101 or by email at abby@dsagsl.org.

My name is Ethan and I was a volunteer for the DSAGSL bike camp the past two years. I am 17 years old, and I loved the camp from the first time I went. I have gone every year since. The first time I did the camp was to get out in the world and try some new things, and I also needed to get service hours for my school. Instead of just going for service hours, now I go because it is fun, different, and the people I meet are very amazing and intelligent. I love working with kids that have special needs and it gives me a new perspective on life. I like explaining things in different ways to teach the kids.

I was nervous the first time I volunteered, but the workers are very welcoming. They are so kind and thoughtful and they create an amazing environment for the kids involved in the camp. Each kid I was paired with was motivated by different things such as the songs in the movie Frozen or even stickers. The one thing that scared me the first time I volunteered was…What if my buddy falls? I do not want them to be mad at me. When one of my buddies had a small fall, I was there and ready to catch him. Then, he was not scared to fall anymore and was not as tense to ride anymore. When he got super excited to get back on, it made me happy. I knew I was doing something right in making his day. I had earned his trust, and we both had a blast! It really was an amazing feeling and one cannot experience it in a daily life.

This camp opened me up as a person and made me more confident while helpings kids be more confident about themselves. It also made me try something new. Helping the kids succeed was wonderful!  It was the best feeling when my buddy would graduate wheels and finally be able to ride a two-wheeled bike by himself. When that happened, I loved being able to go help other volunteers and their buddies achieve their goal as well. Seeing the smile on my buddy’s face, once he knew he was able to ride a bike all on his own, made me feel very proud in knowing I just played a role in his life.

I plan on volunteering at many more camps and working with kids that have special needs. I encourage others to try something new and volunteer for the DSAGSL camps and make new friends. You might even make their day!