by Emma Epstein, Major Taylor Outreach Program Assistant
A few months ago, Gail Rudee, a Major Taylor Project volunteer and Camp Orkila board member, saw a natural connection between Camp Orkila and Cascade’s Major Taylor Program, both of which provide positive development programs for youth.
Gail brought together Camp Orkila’s Senior Program Director, David Affolter, Ed Ewing and I for a meeting to gauge if there was interest among our Major Taylor students to attend summer camp.
Every summer, the YMCA sponsors a certain amount of Leadership Awards to ensure that camp is accessible for all. As one of the camp options was a two-week Bike Camp, Gail and David thought that reaching out to the Major Taylor students was the perfect fit.
And it was.
On July 28, three students from Global Connections High School went up to Camp Orkila on Orcas Island with their STP bikes converted into touring bikes, panniers and all.
The two-week experience began at camp, where the students were taught basic camping skills who then passed those skills on to the younger campers. They then embarked on a bike touring trip around the San Juan Islands.
Ed, Gail, Gail’s daughter Talia and I were invited up to visit the students while they were on Lopez Island—the last leg of their bike trip. We spent the day hearing about their trip and learning how they make their own hummus (spices added to a can of garbanzos) and how to set up a sleeping space with a tarp, rocks, a stick and some twine.
It was a wonderful experience for us and for the kids. We hope to further grow this relationship and grow our involvement with the YMCA. Thank you Gail and David! And thank you, Marty, for giving us the unofficial tour of camp!