‘iCan Shine’ bike camp for autism spec­trum needs vol­un­teers

The Covington News - - LOCAL - ALENA COW­LEY news@cov­news.com

A new sum­mer camp is com­ing that plan­ners hope will of­fer a chance for fun and feel­ings of ac­com­plish­ment for the spe­cial needs com­mu­nity in Rock­dale County.

The Rock­dale County Autism Sup­port Group is host­ing iCan Shine bike camp July 14 through July 18 at Rock­dale County High School, lo­cated at 1174 Bull­dog Cir­cle in Cony­ers.

The camp will be the first in Rock­dale County, but more than 30 other states have im­ple­mented the iCan Shine bike camp. Lo­cally, Al­pharetta has held the camp for the past five years, ac­cord­ing to Rock­dale or­ga­nizer Es­ther Ma­clin.

“My son at­tended in 2012,” Ma­clin said of the Al­pharetta camp. “And it was such an awe­some ex­pe­ri­ence that I wanted to bring it here to our com­mu­nity.”

Any­one with a disability may par­tic­i­pate in the camp, not just those with autism.

Through daily 75-minute ses­sions, campers will be paired with a vol­un­teer and learn to ride a twowheel bi­cy­cle. But it goes be­yond that, Ma­clin ex­plained.

“This helps with health and well­ness and so­cial in­ter­ac­tions,” she said.

The camp will be held in the school and campers will wear hel­mets. Ma­clin ex­plained “launch day” to be when the campers will set out for their first in­de­pen­dent ride.

Space for campers is wind­ing down, but Ma­clin de­scribed the need for vol­un­teers as “dire.” No prior ex­pe­ri­ence is needed to be a vol­un­teer and Ma­clin en­cour­aged the com­mu­nity to con­sider the op­por­tu­nity.

A par­ent and vol­un­teer ori­en­ta­tion ses­sion will be held July 13.

Campers will need to bring their own bike. A tech­ni­cian will be on hand to in­spect the bike. Camp cost is $150. Par­tic­i­pa­tion el­i­gi­bil­ity in­cludes be­ing at least eight years old, be­ing able to walk with­out an as­sis­tive de­vice, and weigh­ing no more than 220 pounds.

For more in­for­ma­tion for rid­ers or to vol­un­teer, visit www. ican­shine.org or www. rock­daleautism.org

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