A Great Kickoff Meeting for Walk.Bike.Schools!
April 22, 2012 2 Comments
Frankly, we’re feeling pretty jazzed here at Walk.Bike.Schools! headquarters. When we started planning this “project,” we weren’t sure if we’d have 5, 10, or 20 of you who’d make the time to come a meeting. In fact, we had 35 or so parents, plus another 5 or so folks otherwise connected with the walk-and-bike-to-school movement in at least 14 schools. All on a record-busy night for bike and ped meetings. Wow!
We experienced inspirational sharing of insights and ideas from participants. Some real winners included:
- Make it fun for kids and they can motivate their parents!
- Let’s develop Buddy Schools to match up existing programs to mentor new programs
- Target preschools for early bike and walk involvement. That way kids and parents will already be converts when they hit elementary school
- and many more!
I’m putting out a call right now for blog posts on these ideas. There are some great opportunities to dig into these ideas on the blog and on the Walk Bike Schools Google Group over the next few months.
A quick rundown for those who couldn’t make it:
Intro – Clint Loper welcomed all of us and set the tone for the meeting. He presented the idea that we (the organizers) felt it was useful to gather together the community of people interested in walking and biking to school to share information about our programs and ideas, but beyond that we had no “agenda” for the outcome of our group.
Our main goal was/is to get a conversation going and evolve the group’s direction to meeting the needs of bike and walk to school participants. Ultimately anyone with an an interest in these programs can help determine our direction.
And as we circled the room for quick intros it was clear that participants do feel a need to better learn about, share ideas for, and grow Walking and Bike to School in Seattle. Yay!
Next up a few schools provided informal presentations on their programs. Anne and Leslie talked about the bike-heavy program at Bryant, complete with popular Top Pot doughnut rides. Next, Kendall from Laurelhurst gave a rundown on their long-running program. They do a fairly balanced walk and bike program — with heavy programming during “Walktober.” Finally, Polly and Erin talked about the West Woodland program. They have a solid Walking School Bus program (one bus that goes every day all year!), and also run a spring Bike Rodeo.
When we meet again (and most people in attendance were in favor of a future meeting), we’d love to have more schools talk about their programs (or their ideas for starting programs)! And in my perfect blog-sharing world, all of these speakers would also do a run though of their program as a blog post (complete with photos/links/details). The more information we can share about our successes (and failures, too), the easier it will be for the next school to get walking and rolling.
Maya Jacobs then gave an overview on the Bike Trains programs she has started for Bike to School month at Thornton Creek and Wedgwood. Maya chose this project for her UW Capstone Project. More about Maya and programs under the Bike Trains section here on the blog.
Blog and Calendar
Finally, I presented an overview on the Walk.Bike.Schools! blog. I’m begging (BEGGING!) all interested Walk and Bike parents to contribute posts about your programs. I’d love to have us share ideas, ask for advice for things we want to start and aren’t sure how, failures, successes, events (recaps as well as upcoming) — all of that. I’m personally on the hook for a “how-to” on creating maps and banners, and Clint is planning (right, Clint ;-) a post on obstacle course obstacle creation.
A couple people suggested we add a calendar to the Walk.Bike.Schools! blog as another sharing tool. Great idea! So please send us events related to Walking and Biking to school and we’ll get them added.
Yes, information about our programs can be distributed via email on the Walk Bike Schools group, but putting it on the blog with photos, comments, adds a level of permanence that hopefully will assist the long-term success of these programs, while maybe avoiding some reinvention of the wheel (pun intended).
Contact me here at the blog and I can get you set up as an author so you can write your posts and share your photos. Or send me a photo and a email or word doc text and I’ll post it for you. You can also also share photos via the Walk.Bike.Schools! flickr group.
Follow up Meeting and New Walk.Bike.Schools! Google Group
Most folks agreed they would like to meet again, possibly a wrap-up session after bike month but before summer break We didn’t nail down dates (and locations — it doesn’t have to be at Bryant if another school wants to host), but this should be a perfect topic to kick around on the new Walk.Bike.Schools.Google.Group.
If you signed in at the meeting and provided an email address you should have received an invite to the group last week. Using that link to sign up for the group should reduce our moderation load and get you going faster. That said, if you don’t have an invite and want to join, please sign up and we’ll approve your request as quickly as possible.
Thanks again to everyone who came out and everyone involved moving forward. Though we’re still not sure what the actual outcome of this Walk.Bike.Schools! project will be, judging from the amount time we all spent gabbing after the meeting, putting names to faces, and swapping stories and tips, the initial connection of people and schools is a a good start.
Help us continue that and set our direction on the email group and the blog!