Conquering mountains: Neighborhood Navigators and The Cycle Effect team up to promote physical health and women’s empowerment
As part of the Muevete Mujer! initiative, Neighborhood Navigators will be offering free opportunities to stay active this summer
A desire to learn and a good attitude is all you need to participate in one of Neighborhood Navigators of Eagle County’s summer activities as part of its Muevete Mujer! project.
The initiative, which started last year, aims to promote physical activity and personal care for women, especially for mothers who often do not have time for themselves.
“We met to see what activities we were hearing in the community that were of interest to moms, in order to recognize those activities and in turn, for moms to take at least an hour or two a week for personal care or an activity they enjoy,” said Melina Valsecia, Neighborhood Navigators of Eagle County manager.
One of the activities that emerged as part of this project is mountain biking, made possible through a collaboration with local nonprofit The Cycle Effect.
“We teamed up with The Cycle Effect and decided to do these classes and, in fact, they have been very successful. The moms are very happy,” said Carolina Guzman, Neighborhood Navigator for the town of Eagle.
The Cycle Effect empowers young women through mountain biking, mentoring and community impact.
According to a 2019 report, 62% of The Cycle Effect participants identify as Hispanic or Latina. However, Brett Donelson, founder and executive director of the organization, noted that more outreach was needed within the Latinx community.
“We knew we were lacking that piece,” Donelson said, referring to the lack of Spanish-speaking leaders in the organization within Eagle County. “That is really why we got involved with Neighborhood Navigators … this is one of the most important partnerships we have.”
Neighborhood Navigators helps recruit participants within the Spanish-speaking community where the organization has limited reach, and in return, The Cycle Effect provides the necessary equipment and training during practices to teach participants how to mountain bike.
But beyond physical training, Neighborhood Navigators hopes that the moms will take home new knowledge and a new activity that they can share with their children, like being able to ride a bike together.
Joselyn Regalado is one of the mothers who has been participating in the mountain biking group since last year, but before joining, she had never been on a mountain bike.
“The first few times were very difficult, I was even crying and I told myself I wasn’t coming back because I didn’t think I would be able to do it,” she said. “But Brett worked a lot with me that first time, and he told me some stories that really motivated me.”
Regalado has a daughter who has been on The Cycle Effect team for two years, and like herself, the program has benefited her daughter greatly.
“She’s more self-confident, her self-esteem is higher, she is very happy, and she enjoys coming,” Regalado said of her daughter.
The cycling group for moms meets on Thursdays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Eagle. Last summer, it started with a group of 25 moms; however, this year the capacity has been reduced to seven participants due to COVID-19, and unfortunately, they are currently not accepting new participants.
However, as part of the Muevete Mujer! initiative, Neighborhood Navigators will be offering other free opportunities to stay active this summer, including hiking, yoga classes, swimming classes, Zumba classes and more.
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