Damu at Summer CampX

Posted by Anneka on July 20, 2015 in Bicycle Safety

Damu Curtis, Bike Easy Youth Spokeswoman/Intern, spent part of her summer assisting with the Bike Explorer class at the innovative First Line Schools Summer CampX in June 2015.

My summer has been the best! I assisted Chris, Vivek, and Anneka at Summer CampX hosted at Arthur Ashe School in Gentilly. The middle schoolers repaired their bikes, went on rides, and worked as a group.

I even learned a couple things from them. Because I’m not a big mountain bike fan, I wasn’t as familiar fixing problems on them. But from watching the campers help each other, I got adjusted and was able to assist with repairs as well. We took pictures to remember the moments and some challenges we got through as a team.

On one of our rides, we went to City Park to visit the outdoor public gym. The boys were very interested in the equipment though I think the girls were just too hot and exhausted from the bike ride to exercise. On the ride back to Ashe, a couple of the boys led and the rest of us followed. They were perfect about riding in traffic, signaling and turning, stopping at red lights, and power starts at green lights.

From start to finish, camp was full of laughs. The kids were the most energized and active I ever saw. At one point, Chris even held a trick contest with the boys and let the girls be the judges. They were doing tricks I can’t even do, I’m still stuck on trying to pop-a-wheelie on a BMX bike.

At the end of the camp, we chose a final project to complete together. I told the campers about my experience with Virginia doing Bike Light Safety Interventions because its really one of my favorite things I’ve done with Bike Easy. They thought it was a good idea so they started planning for a Safety Intervention during the last week of camp at the Wisner Trail. Unfortunately, I was not available to do the bike light Intervention with them but from what I hear they enjoyed spreading the safety message!

The campers really reminded me of myself when I first went to the Youth Empowerment Project’s Trafigura Work & Learn project. I had absolutely no experience, just a teenager that could ride a bike through the streets. I was never as cautious riding as now. I appreciate the kids for accepting me into their camp and allowing me to ride along with them.

If I have the opportunity to work with kids next summer I would most definitely accept it! Even though the kids were a handful they were also fun to be around. They kept me laughing with their jokes and ridiculous falls (none of them were hurt, thankfully!).

I really want to thank Bike Easy, NOLA Women on Bikes#! & Women Bike from the League of American Bicyclists for the opportunity they’ve given me this year to have a better look at my city and I also can’t forget YEP for introducing me to this wonderful bike life.

– Da’Jonae (Damu) Curtis, Youth Spokeswoman & Bike Easy Intern

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