iCan Bike camp comes to Fulton

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FULTON - People with disabilities are sometimes told what they cannot do, however one summer camp is encouraging them to focus on what they can achieve.

iCan Bike is a program under iCan Shine, a non-profit organization that provides learning opportunities for people with disabilities. The goal is to help them maximize their strengths while participating in recreational activities. 

iCan Bike is a week-long day camp that teaches those individuals how to ride a bike.

Nancy Hansen is a Fulton mother whose youngest daughter, Shelby, suffers from a rare genetic disorder and is hard of hearing.

When she first discovered the iCan Bike day camp in St. Louis, she immediately registered her daughter.

What Hansen didn't know is that she signed Shelby up for what would eventually become a life-changing experience.

"It was the first time that I saw Shelby really ride a bike and she was so proud of herself and she was so happy," Hansen said. "It changed our family because she had so much confidence, she was able to take risks, and wasn't as scared of other things that carried through school," Hansen said. 

After Hansen's experience, she decided she wanted to bring the iCan Bike day camp to Fulton.

She began fundraising, found sponsorships and hosted the event for the last four years in her hometown.

All ages are welcome to register and attend one of the five sessions held each day of the week at the 54 Country event space in Fulton. 

More than 100 volunteers, mostly young adults, signed up to help these individuals overcome the obstacles of bike riding throughout the week. 

Participating in the iCan Bike day camp means more than just lending a helping hand for some volunteers.

"I have a disability myself and I love watching disabled kids ride their bikes and knowing to fall down and get back up," 17-year-old Jazmine Mantle said. 

This is Carol Hinchie's second year volunteering, assisting her handicapped brother improve his biking skills. 

"He's 51, almost 52, and last year he was really scared to get on the bike and it took a while to get the confidence going and this year he's doing much better," Hinchie said. 

Campers said they are looking forward to riding out the rest of the week.

"Just overall learning and getting the hang of it, it's really fun," iCan Bike camper Wylie Ross said. 

iCan Bike day camp is looking for more volunteers for next year's event. For additional information on how to get involved, visit the website.