It’s Worth it in the End

Spring is the peak of Bike Rodeo season in Northeast Iowa, meaning my schedule gets pretty darn busy.


When I became the Regional Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Coordinator three years ago, I had no idea I would interact with kids, let alone educate them! My background is not in education, and as much as I enjoy being around kids, my intentions have never been to work closely with this age group.


This might sound a little funny coming from a SRTS professional, and I can understand why. SRTS programs are for the kids, right? Right. But honestly, most all of the efforts in building a SRTS program involve interactions with adults, not kids. Meaning I rarely ever interact with kids in my day to day job. Even when I join a Walking School Bus, I might have kids around me, but I am there to interact with the adult volunteers.


Until we get to Bike Rodeo season…


…and there I am…front and center…surrounded by 10, 20, 30, sometimes even 60 kids at a time teaching them about bike and pedestrian safety.


West Union Bike Rodeo


No way would I have applied for this job three years ago had I known ‘direct education to kids’ would be a responsibility! And no way would I have believed three years ago that I would actually like providing ‘direct education to kids’!


Bike Rodeo season brings me many early mornings, tired muscles, sunburned skin and even swollen vocal cords (seriously!). But at the end of a Bike Rodeo day, when I am so beyond exhaustion that even listening to the radio is too much work (I’m not kidding), I realize there is nothing else I would have rather done that day.


It’s such a great feeling to know you just reached 200+ kids with information that could one day save their life (talk about making a difference!)…AND to know these kids had fun learning it (wahoo!).


Decorah Bike Rodeo

Still, it’s not my dream job to become a school teacher, nor will it ever be. I don’t know how you teachers (and RCs!) do it nine months out of the year! Four to six weeks is PLENTY for me.


But it’s all worth it in the end…


…when a month after your Bike Rodeo…


…you stumble upon an envelope sitting on your desk that ‘you just haven’t had time to open yet’…


…you finally open it…


…and find these smiling back at you…

IMG_2552 IMG_2553 IMG_2554 IMG_2555 IMG_2556 IMG_2557 IMG_2558 IMG_2559 IMG_2560 IMG_2561 IMG_2562 IMG_2563 IMG_2564 IMG_2565 IMG_2566 IMG_2567

(thank you notes from South Winn!)


Need I say more?




3 thoughts on “It’s Worth it in the End

  1. Ashley,
    You are an inspiration to all who have the opportunity to work with you and we at UERPC are grateful for the knowledge that you share regarding healthy living.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.