Staff member and Venturer Kaitlyn W., from Vancouver, Washington, had a particularly tough decision about whether to attend the 2017 National Jamboree. Kaitlyn, a staff member at Low Gear, was qualified to participate in Nationals for mountain biking. However, she decided to become Jamboree staff member instead.
“I decided that riding mountain bikes for two weeks would be better than riding one day for a few hours,” Kaitlyn said. “I was told this area has world-class mountain biking, and I had to check it out for myself.”
She also had some extra encouragement: Jim Virgin, our extreme sports team lead here at the jamboree is from her council, Cascade Pacific.
This may be Kaitlyn’s first Jamboree, but it is far from her first Scouting experience. She is a member of Crew 911, originally founded as a first-aid-focused crew that taught first aid throughout the council. She had heard about the crew, since her brother is in Scouts, and when she received an invitation to join from the advisers, her mom encouraged her to join. She was eventually asked to form a new patrol that focused on mountain biking.
Kaitlyn first developed an interest in mountain biking from her dad, who has been mountain biking for as long as she can remember. Her middle school offered a mountain biking team, which further increased her interest. She now competes in competitions nearly every weekend from February until June, ranging from local to national competitions, even winning some races and sectionals along the way.
Kaitlyn favorite type of track is cross country, but track racing is a close second. Her favorite place to go biking is Mt. Bachelor, near Bend, Oregon. There, she likes to participate in Pickett’s Charge, a race down the mountain aptly named after Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg.
Scouting has had a profound impact on Kaitlyn’s life. “It has shaped me in so many ways. I’ve met so many people that I remain friends with, including my best friend. I also got my summer job through Scouting,” she said, as She worked this past summer at a Cub Scout camp.
Kaitlyn has some advice for Scouts, too. For those scouts who may be hesitant to try mountain biking, she says: “ There may be a few bumps and hits, but everyone can do it. Everyone should try it once in their life.” To those Scouts considering trying out mountain bike competitions, she says “The community is so supportive. It’s a very good vibe .”
Kaitlyn has drawn praise from her lead, Jim Virgin. “We are honored to have such talent on our staff, and we are also honored that she came here instead of riding at Nationals. She can connect with both Scouts and leaders to effectively teach them the basics of mountain biking.”
Kaitlyn’s favorite saying, from her camp, is “if you can change one kid’s mind you can change one kid’s life.” Kaitlyn is living up to that motto, changing kids’ lives through her favorite activity, mountain biking.