NJ@KT 2022 – That’s a wrap!

NJ@KT 2022 – That’s a wrap!

Good Morning Parents, Guardians, Coaches and Friends,

I hope this email finds you well and recovered from a long week of fun and riding. Many folks extended the trip into the weekend with ride destinations from Burke Mountain Downhill to the Ascutney Festival and many locales between NJ and VT. What an amazing opportunity!

The league staff departed Burke Mountain Academy (BMA) at approximately 4 pm on Friday after packing gear and cleaning our spaces. I had the pleasure of walking through the dorms with BMA staff, where I was super pleased to see the hard work put in by our coaches and campers to leave every dorm better than we found it. Thank you to each and every camper and dorm coach for this effort, it means so much! It was our first visit to BMA and we made a great first impression. 

The BMA staff and several locals I met also commented on the demeanor of our campers. I’ve received reports of random kindness from our campers while on campus, and also heard many reports of positive trail encounters with land owners and fellow trail users from our groups. Campers even assisted BMA Chef Nate in unloading new chairs on Friday!

This was tremendously important to me and to our staff. We shared with campers during our initial meeting that every trail on the KTA map is on private land, and recent events have led to several trails being closed down by the landowners after a negative encounter between a mountain biker and one of the owners who was out on her horse. The “Ride With Gratitude” socks that we gave to all campers at parent pickup were intended to be a reminder that our use of trails there, and any place in the world, is not a right, but a privilege. This is a foundational issue with our community, and it is so wonderful to see our riders acting as ambassadors of the sport. 

It was not lost on me that I missed adding a sunset photo in Thursday evening’s email, and it was a doozy, sooooooo here it is!

Speaking of photos, below is a snapshot of our final coaches’ meeting on Thursday evening. In addition to our normal camp-related discussions, coaches shared their “NICA why” and how they were introduced to the program. Hearing not only how our coaches got into NICA but what motivates them to do the incredible volunteer work that they do was super enlightening. Several responses elicited tears from the group, reminding us that this program is changing the lives of folks for the better. Never doubt together we are making an impact.  

Thank you coaches!!!

Let’s leave you with a few truly impressive numbers …

  • Total distance ridden by campers: 4,240 miles, approximately the distance to the UK from NJ, or to South America and back!
  • Total elevation gained by campers: 466,000 feet, or the equivalent of summiting Mount Everest 16 times!
  • Total ice cream consumed: immeasurable by modern standards!

Thank you all for reading along over the course of NJ NICA’s first venture into sleepaway camps. It was a daunting task to jump into our first camp with so many students, and so far away from New Jersey, but we knew that we had the right folks on the job. I can not express enough how much work that our staff and coaches invested to make this a success. Jon Olson’s performance as Camp Director was simply amazing, showing his true passion for our program and for sharing his experiences in outdoor education. Thank you Jon!

To our volunteer camp staff coaches, thank you! You are all amazing folks, and your efforts this past week made for an enjoyable and memorable experience for campers. Courtney Pinto, David Kahl, David Bauhs, Dennis Suler, Dino Pinto, Douglas Ray, Eric Vollmuth, Jamie Gada, Kristine Contento-Angell, Mariusz Malkowski, Michael Attebury, Peter Canales, Shawn Doucette, Stephen Kravchuck, Todd Haig and Tom Gaynor – Thank you! 

In the coming days campers, coaches and parents will receive an email from our Camp Director, Jon Olson, which will contain a survey for attendees. Please take the time to complete it, as we are super interested in your feedback so we can provide the best possible experience as we move forward. 

As always, if you are thinking of reaching out for any reason, please hear me asking you to do so. We are committed to providing safe and engaging camps, and your feedback is critical to our success. 

Best wishes,