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Our Story

—we provide outdoor recreation to Ottawa's underserved youth.

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Our Mission

Enriching the lives of youth who are economically disadvantaged,
new-to-Canada, at-risk, or living
with disabilities in our community through outdoor recreational activities.

Trips for Kids Ottawa's mission is to enrich the lives of youth who are economically  disadvantaged, new-to-Canada, at-risk, or living with disabilities in our community. We strive to bring positive change by providing free outdoor recreational activities like biking, skating, and snowshoeing. Our goal is to break down barriers to participation, encourage leadership, build community, and foster a connection with nature for those who may not otherwise have the opportunity.

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Our Beginnings: Trips for Kids Ottawa, formerly Mountain Bike Children and Teens (Mtbcat), has served Ottawa's underserved youth since 2007. What started as a small initiative became a registered charity in 2014, dedicated to enriching the lives of youth through outdoor recreational activities who would otherwise not have the opportunity to participate.

Our Activities: At Trips for Kids Ottawa, we offer engaging programs and opportunities for youth year-round. From biking along picturesque trails to snowshoeing through winter wonderlands and gliding on ice during skating sessions, our activities build purpose, belonging, and resilience.

Our Volunteers: Our volunteers at Trips for Kids Ottawa are essential to our mission. They serve as
mentors, guiding youth in learning new skills and exploring nature through recreational activities. To
ensure everyone's safety, our volunteers undergo police background checks, first aid and CPR training,
and leadership and risk management training. We are also committed to promoting a welcoming
environment by providing diversity and inclusion training.

Our Impact: In 2023, our dedicated team of volunteers and one staff member served approximately 364 youth. Our programs go beyond recreation to address basic needs, provide quality equipment, and ensure a safe and inclusive environment for all participants.

Our Community Ties: We have established ties with the Carambeck  Community Centre, the Dave Smith Drug and Treatment Centre, Frederick Banting Alternative High School, Bell High School, Franco Ouest High School, and Programme d'appui aux nouveaux arrivants (PANA).

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Our Founder

In 2007, an avid mountain biker, Cat Weaver, was gearing up to bring her teenagers to a local high school mountain bike event. She asked around their school if other youth would be interested in the event. Many wanted to join, but most needed 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 to her local mountain biking community for assistance, and the response she received was incredible. Several friends generously loaned their bikes and gear, and a local bike shop offered to use their vehicle for the event. The new riders eagerly asked Cat when they could ride again after having a great time. Keen to respond to the community's needs, Cat started her research and came across the website Trips for Kids National. Their mission statement aligned perfectly with what she imagined offering to teens in Ottawa, that her daughter thought she had created the website herself! In 2011, Trips for Kids Ottawa (TFKO) became the organization's third Canadian chapter; in 2014, it became a registered charity. Over the years, TFKO has received grants from organizations like the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Canadian Tire's Jumpstart program. This allowed TFKO to purchase and maintain a large fleet of bikes stored in retrofitted shipping containers at Ottawa area schools. TFKO's programs are designed to be inclusive, providing fun and safe outdoor recreational activities for anyone and everyone, regardless of socio-economic status, language barriers, gender identity, or skill level. An outing never starts without a nutritious snack prepared by our local volunteers! "I half-jokingly say they come for the food and stay for the ride," says Cat.  In the off-season, TFKO also runs winter skating programs. In 2021, we received generous support from Jumpstart to provide youth participants with new skates, helmets and gloves.

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Our Board of Directors

Trips for Kids Ottawa is supported by a dedicated team of volunteers who serve on our Board of Directors. Together, they shape the organization's policies, manage its finances, and chart its strategic course. They are public servants, private sector professionals, and outdoor enthusiasts alike, united by their love for nature and their shared commitment to introducing children and youth to its wonders.

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