TRIPS FOR KIDS
Our story is rooted in the potential of kids and the power of biking to transform their lives.
In 2007, Cat Weaver, an avid mountain biker, was gearing up to bring her own teenagers to a local high school mountain bike event. She asked around at their school to see if other youth would be interested in the event. Many wanted to join, but most did not have a bike or equipment. Some of the teenagers were new Canadian immigrants or refugees who arrived late in the school year and didn’t have the opportunity or the means to join other organized sports.
Cat reached out for help to her local mountain biking community and the response was incredible with many friends loaning their bikes and gear, and a local bike shop offering the use of their vehicle for the event. The new participants enjoyed the event so much that they were itching to get back on bikes and started asking Cat when they could go riding again.
Keen to respond to the need in the community, Cat started her research and came across the website for Trips for Kids National. Their mission statement aligned so perfectly with what she imagined offering to teens in Ottawa that her own daughter thought she had created the website herself! In 2011, Trips for Kids Ottawa (TFKO) became the third Canadian chapter of the organization and in 2014 it became a registered charity.
Over the years, TFKO has received grants from organizations like Ontario Trillium Foundation and Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart program. This allowed TFKO to successfully purchase and maintain a large fleet of bikes stored in retrofitted shipping containers located at Ottawa area schools.
The programs offer by TFKO are fun and safe outdoor activities welcoming anyone and everyone, regardless of socio-economic status, language barriers, gender identity, or skill level. An outing never starts without a hardy and nutritious snack baked by our local volunteers! “I half-jokingly say they come for the food and stay for the ride.” says Cat.
As of 2022, TFKO fleet bikes are ridden 3-4 times per week with over 50 bike outings annually encompassing 844 riders.
In the off-season, TFKO also runs winter skating programs. In 2021, generous support was received from Jumpstart to provide youth participants with new skates, helmets and gloves.