Canadian Cyclist


December 6/09 9:49 am - YOUth Program Introduces Kids to London Track

Posted by Editoress on 12/6/09

On Friday (December 4th), Rob Good from the Forest City Velodrome (London, ON), with Jessica Duarte and Sean Scott from the McQuesten Community Centre in Hamilton, gave five kids from the MCC YOUth Create program a world class experience by teaching them to ride the only indoor velodrome in Ontario. This is an opportunity that many young people living in Hamilton could never hope to realize. Juan, Raymond, Amadu, Preston, and Rickey live in one of Hamilton’s most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Friday, they proved that when you have world class expectations of people you will get world class results!

Sean Scott is the program co-ordinator for the YOUth Create program at the McQuesten Community Centre, located near Barton and Parkdale in Hamilton. “These kids do not have a lot, but what they lack most are opportunities. Jess and I provide those opportunities,” says Scott, a two time national time trial champion and a level three certified cycling coach. Duarte and Scott are part of a team of staff and volunteers who are rallying the community’s assets (residents, faith groups, agencies, businesses, government supports) to strengthen the fabric of the neighbourhood.

Each of these kids were handpicked for this trip because of their hard work and commitment to participating in the YOUth Create program every day after school and to getting fit enough to ride the track. “I mean, they were pudgy little dumplings when we started nine weeks ago; now these kids are tough as nails. “When I planned the trip to the velodrome I had serious doubts about whether they would be able to go fast enough to stay up on the boards. I am delighted to report that they proved me wrong!”

As for the velodrome experience, Rob is first rate at working with kids so they were in great hands the whole day. In two hours, these kids went from barely knowing how to ride, to completing five to six laps between the red and black lines with confidence. “They want to race and have asked me if we can start riding during our program time after school to get fitter!” says Scott with a huge grin. Rob extended an invitation for all of the kids to come back on Saturdays to participate in the FCV Velo-Kids program. Duarte, who in June of this year coordinated a playground build in the McQuesten neighbourhood, says her new project is finding volunteers to take the McQuesten kids to London on Saturdays.

“Our big challenge with kids in the McQuesten neighbourhood is establishing trust with them and getting them to commit. Commitment is a new concept for many of the young people we serve,” says Scott. “They have been burned - a lot. So when I say we’re doing something, there is zero margin for error.” We are undertaking world class things at McQuesten and these kids are rising to meet the challenge. They are starting to believe in themselves and that’s huge!”

The YOUth Create program is an after school program run by HARRRP, an outreach project of Christ’s Church Cathedral, at the Jamesville and McQuesten Community Centres and Sanford Avenue School in the lower City of Hamilton. The program is funded by the Ministry of Health Promotion, the Hamilton Community Foundation, the United Way, and the City of Hamilton). The focus is on fitness, nutrition, health, well-being and the arts.

The Forest City Velodrome is one of two indoor velodromes in all of Canada. If you want to learn more about FCV and their amazing programs please visit their website: It is exciting to anticipate the creation of a third Canadian velodrome facility right here in Hamilton in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games.

“Like, I thought it was really, really fun and like I would love to go again because it was so much fun. It would be great to go with my friends. I really liked riding the track bike even though my legs are tired and sore today.”
Preston Brown. Grade 7

“That was one of the coolest things I have ever done in my life. I cannot believe how much fun it was. We all want to go again.”
Amadou Drome. Grade 7

“I am really glad we went because Rob gave us new bike helmets and I think next time it will be more fun because we will know what we are doing.”
Raymond Smith. Grade 6

“Very good. I really liked riding around the track. I like going fast. The drills were okay but once we got to ride it was really fun. I want to ride on the yellow line next time!”
Rickey Camara. Grade 5

“I knew it was going to be fun but I did not think it would be that intense. I am definitely going back.”
Juan Lopera. Grade 7


Courtesy MCC YOUth Create program


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