All Sports for All Kids -- Rich Brown speaks at the Project Play Summit

Sara Kiesler

Sara Kiesler

Major Taylor Project Manager Rich Brown psyches up youth and volunteer ride leaders for the first 2017 spring training ride — the first pedal stroke toward completing the 2017 STP in one day!

At the annual Aspen Institute-sponsored conference in Detroit, Cascade Major Taylor Project Manager Rich Brown will be answering questions about how MTP cuts through barriers for underrepresented youth.

Nearly everyone knows LeBron James is a mega-basketball star in the NBA. But did you know he was also an avid bicycle rider as a child, heading out on two wheels to relieve stress, and that he currently promotes bicycling for kids today? 

This is one of the many topics Cascade Major Taylor Project Manager Rich Brown will be discussing on a panel at the Project Play Summit in Detroit this week -- or rather, he will be answering “how useful is it that LeBron James is promoting bicycling?”

Brown, who has worked for Cascade for over four years, will be asked about ways to get youth involved in what is called “sports sampling,” which is about youth participating in and trying multiple different sports during their childhood. Sports sampling looks to involve youth in non-traditional physical activities besides traditional sports like basketball, softball/baseball, and soccer. Brown says inner city youth may not have access to rowing in the same way someone who lives by a lake with a rowing club does, but every kid deserves access to trying sports like cycling, gymnastics, and rowing. 

“Sports sampling is about trying out different things you might not have done,” or have access to, Brown said. “Lots of other things are equally challenging and fun, but inner city youth may not have access.”

Another question Brown will be answering on the panel: How does the Major Taylor Project cut through those barriers to sports sampling? 

The answer? It’s about ensuring MTP programming to empower youth through bicycling is brought directly to the schools and everything is provided, he said. 

“There’s no excuse,” Brown said. “(Cascade) provides the bikes, we provide food, we provide training, we pick students up and bring them back, and it’s at the school. A barrier could be the location, or the transportation needs, but MTP takes place right after school -- not before school and not at another location.”

There’s also so much more to MTP than just a bike club. The Major Taylor Project also provides opportunities to elevate youth voices and inspire students to advocate for change in their community. By serving more than 500 youth annually in middle and high schools across diverse and underrepresented neighborhoods in King and Pierce counties, it strives to reduce barriers to bicycling for hundreds of kids.

The opportunity to speak about MTP to a national audience is exciting for Brown, and he hopes to spread the idea to others who are looking for ways to reduce barriers for underrepresented youth.

Stay tuned for follow-up on Rich’s takeaways from the conference, or live stream the conference at this link here:

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