Accomplishing goals both on and off the mountain

The Jill Ackhurst Social Action Fund provided a grant to Zero Ceiling Society in 2013 to support their Progression Sessions Mountain Bike Program for Whistler Youth.

ZeroCeilingProgrsrsThe program is not just about learning to ride, but empowering at-risk youth to develop life skills and achieve personal growth.

Here is Justin's* story, told by program coordinator Kris Kupskay:

The Zero Ceiling Progression Sessions has a unique approach to setting and accomplishing goals.  This program is a combination of acknowledging and accomplishing goals both on and off the mountain as a main focus.  In addition, we all know that when working with YOUTH, it can be quite difficult to talk about things such as goal setting and the future (for many YOUTH this hasn’t shown up on their radar just yet).  The beautiful thing about younger generations is that they live in the now.

Justin signed up for a 6 week program to learn how to set goals and achieve them.

When I first met Justin he was full of energy and was quick to express his love for sports…… school not so much.  It took a few weeks of getting to know him, working around his busy schedule, and almost dropping out, before a real connection was made.  After the 3rd week, it was like night and day, Justin was SOLD.  For the first few sessions, it seemed as though we were just getting hit up for the free biking opportunity but as the weeks passed Justin began to open up.  I made my role clear as a support and mentor, one that always had his best interest in mind, and was here to help him grow. Justin was having trouble in school. From just making it through a class (without attracting negative attention) to lower than desired grades, this is where he first asked for help.  From the 3rd week to present, Justin was able to bring his marks up an entire letter grade in many of his classes, stopped getting kicked out, and was handing in all of his homework on time.

It took some serious time, goal setting, and follow up but we accomplished what we had set out to do.  The biking was the motivator and school was the objective. Further, Justin showed up as a great mountain biker already but evolved even more by working hard on fundamentals and making smarter decisions in challenging situations.

*Justin's name has been changed to protect his privacy