Much like the rest of the world, in the land of All Kids Bike and Kindergarten PE Programs, we roll through years in seasons. These seasons aren’t necessarily Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter – although there are prime riding days sprinkled within those. The seasons coincide with the school year, that’s for sure, and other off-school events. In the Black Hills (TRULY, the homeland of All Kids Bike), one of those off-school events is the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally held every year in August. However, every season is an excellent season to Adopt A School.
We recently wrapped another – the 80th, to be exact – where motorcycle enthusiasts, who might just love two wheels a little more than we do, came from far and wide amid a worldwide pandemic to celebrate each other, motorcycles, art, music, and more.
All Kids Bike has a presence at various events throughout the week of celebration, and one of these events is the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame Breakfast. The Hall of Fame is where we first met Jill Parham in 2019, where she was a Hall of Fame inductee for her years of work in the industry – 40 to be exact. Jill and her husband, John, founded, owned, and operated J&P Cycles, a motorcycle aftermarket parts and accessories company. Jill also the Chair of the Board of Directors for the National Motorcycle Museum.
The Hall of Fame Breakfast is literally a who’s who of the motorcycle industry. A giant banquet hall packed wall-to-wall with industry pioneers, leaders, and those creating a living while living their passion for two wheels. All in attendance celebrate current inductees as well as the industry as a whole.
While the Hall of Fame ceremony was a celebration of Jill and other inductees, Jill was finding some inspiration of her own. Jill’s wheels started spinning with ideas like – What if I can create new riders? What if I could get the Kindergarten PE Program in the school my child attended? What if…? Those “what ifs” turned into a post-event reach-out to All Kids Bike, and here we are.
I sent Jill my list of questions to write this story, and her answers, well?
“I decided to ‘Adopt A School’ after attending the Sturgis Museum breakfast last August. I listened to the speaker and saw the passion he had for this program, and I then remembered what the Strider Bicycle did for my grandson at the age of 3 ½. It was very instrumental in his continuing to ride a small motorcycle. I had the perfect driveway for him to practice on with the Strider and then later on with the motorcycle.
This gives a child great coordination ability and confidence when learning their next step, always hoping that will be on a motorcycle at some point.
My memories of riding a bicycle are precious; we had little money, so I always had a hand me down bicycle, and it was always a boys bike for some reason. I was allowed to ride many neighborhoods at that time in our lives, and we had hardly any worries. It was great exercise and freedom from being around the other brothers and sisters, and a great time just to think.
I personally donated the [Kindergarten PE Program] to Strawberry Hill Elementary in the Anamosa School District; this is where my child had attended school plus my grandchildren. I have lived in Anamosa for almost 45 years. I had not heard of anyone in Iowa starting this program, and so it was a great start for many to follow.
The staff at the National Motorcycle Museum put the bicycles together and took a lot of pictures while doing it. It was fulfilling to them to have a part of this program.
We set up a day to take them to Strawberry Hill and present them, we lined them all up in the gym, and then the principal called in the kindergarten classes. The look on their faces was all that was needed. They were so excited, and the principal told them that they should give me a hug, they all ran at me and almost knocked me to the floor. It brought tears to my eyes to see their happiness. Some of them probably would never have the chance to learn at this age. The school was extremely grateful.”
I know I’ve told the All Kids Bike blog readers about deliver day being one of the BEST days ever.
Kids on bikes, especially in gym class, is a grand sight to see.
Riding a bike is truly a rite of passage and a skill that will take a child through life. People at work have to listen to me blab this over and over, and at this point, I probably sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher to them – but it’s SO true. On delivery day, it is quite noticeable the kids who have yet to have the opportunity to be on a bike. When you see their faces light up, and the confidence builds after a few laps around the gym?
The worldwide pandemic might put the squash on in-person deliveries at a given school for the time being. Kindergarten PE Programs are shipping to schools across the country, and I highly recommend involving as many people as possible as you can for build day. A little time out of your day knowing you’ve helped to give a kid gain confidence that transfers outside of the gym? I think every single one of us would build a fleet a day to get more kids on bikes if we could.
Jill’s adopting Strawberry Hill Elementary is genuinely inspiring years of students and creating new riders. She also pours her heart into the National Motorcycle Museum, where people come from far and wide to see history, art and learn more about two wheels.
Jill is living and breathing a passion for two wheels into her community, and beyond.
Jenn Smith and her trusty bike, Marmalade, attempt mountain biking in the Black Hills when Jenn isn’t chasing down one, or all three, of her wildly different – but oh so fun – kids. Jenn thrives on “peopling,” is a self-proclaimed autodidact, and loves to share all the random things she knows – whether you think they’re entertaining or not.