PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – The Providence Cyclo-cross Festival is proud to announce the Divine Youth initiative, a partnership between the Festival, Keough Cyclocross and the Little Bellas mentoring program.
Divine Youth aims to introduce kids to cycling, introduce professional cyclists to kids in Rhode Island and engage families in a healthy outdoor lifestyle. The initiative integrates activities during BikeFest, Rhode Island, a youth cycling clinic at Roger Williams Park on October 4, school visits by professional cyclists and the Little Bellas Providence Camp on October 5 & 6, 2013. All of this complements the MetLife Kidzone and Dr. Kim Fries Memorial Kids Races already established during the race weekend.
The fun kicks off May 9 and 10 with visits to the Alan Shaw Feinstein Middle School and the Met School by Keough Cyclocross. The Keough name is well known on the professional cycling circuit, with three of the Keough brothers currently racing professionally. Nick Keough will be on hand to share some of the secrets of the brothers’ success. The Keough Team and event director Richard Fries will return to the MET school on Saturday, May 11 for BikeFest, Rhode Island.
“Our May events are a way for us to introduce the Divine Youth Initiative to the general community,” said program director Patricia Dowd, “We’re very encouraged by the reception we’ve received thus far. It’s generating a lot of excitement.”
The May school visits are simply a foundation for October, when pro teams with international riders return to more than a dozen schools in the days leading up to Providence Cyclo-cross Festival. “Schools in Rhode Island and especially Providence are starved for these assemblies,” noted Glenn Stillwell, marketing and communications director for the festival. “Our event is within walking and pedaling distance of several schools. The kids just lit up with a few school visits last year and poured into the park to watch the races. This is win-win for the schools and event.”
The Little Bellas Providence Camp presented by Whole Foods Market transplants the successful Catamount, Vermont, program to the green oasis of Roger Williams Park. The brainchild of sisters Sabra and Lea Davison, Little Bellas introduces girls to the sport of cycling and gives pro women a platform to connect with youth.
The Davison sisters and 10 mentors will lead an expected 100 girls over the course of the weekend. Camp activities include learning basic cycling skills, cheering the pro women and sitting down for a Q&A with some of the world’s top female cyclists.
“Our curriculum is learning disguised as fun,” noted Sabra Davison, who co-founded Little Bellas with her sister, Lea, a member of the 2012 Olympic team. “It’s a great way to bring kids and professional women together. It’s amazing what happens when they have a platform to connect.”
Whole Foods Market is graciously donating 50 sponsored entries to qualifying attendees, while Specialized will make bicycles available to those without. All attendees will receive a Little Bellas backpack and jersey, as well as healthy snacks provided by Whole Foods Market. Complete information regarding scholarships and camp registration will be available soon at www.littlebellas.com.
The Providence Cyclo-cross Festival has always aimed to attract more than just cycling fans.
“Our team does not believe in simply promoting a race; we want to promote a cycling extravaganza that is anchored around the most prestigious cyclocross in America,” noted event director Richard Fries. “Our Divine Youth program is so much more than a kids race. We are going into schools and into the neighborhoods around Roger Williams Park and hopefully set an entire generation on the path to healthier lifestyle.”