By Katherine McCarron
ALEXANDRIA, VA – On April 27, a troop of fifth grade Girl Scouts from St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School helped 50 children in Alexandria learn about bike safety at a city-wide “Bike Rodeo” held during the city’s Earth Day celebrations.
The Girl Scouts, in collaboration with volunteers from the Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC), led children ages 5-12 through a series of Bike Rodeo activities designed to teach them bike safety. The Bike Rodeo included stations for: bicycle fitting and tune-up; helmet fitting; mounting, starting, stopping, and dismounting; using hand signals; scanning for stop signs, crosswalks, cars, pedestrians, and potential dangers while riding; biking through obstacles and figure 8’s; the dangers of driveways and intersections and how to navigate them; maintaining bike control while dropping a beanbag into a bucket; and riding over ramps.
Earning Their Bronze Award
The Bike Rodeo was the last step of the fifth grade Girl Scouts’ journey to complete their Bronze Award. The Bronze Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout Junior can achieve. In order to earn a Bronze Award, the girls had to work together as a team to identify a need and make a difference in their community.
Because so many children ride their bikes to school, the girls identified the need for bike safety. The Girl Scouts researched the issue and invited BPAC–a non-profit organization that supports bike riding and partners with local elementary schools to make biking part of the P.E. curriculum–to come to a meeting to talk with the troop about ways to raise awareness about bike safety in a hands-on way. The Girl Scouts voted to lead a Bike Rodeo on Earth Day as their Take Action project.
They spread the word by filming a video podcast about the Bike Rodeo that was posted online and inviting their classmates, friends, and neighbors to come join the fun.
Conte Bikes, 1100 King Street, joined in the fun and Mayor Justin Wilson stopped by to congratulate the girls.