Community Events

Bike or hike along Schuylkill River Trail for fundraiser in Riverfront Park

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A family sits on their bicycles during West-Mont Christian Academy’s annual Bike and Hike event at Green Lane Park last year. The fitness event is a fundraiser for a student missions trip. Courtesy of Atomos Photography

By Michilea Patterson, The Mercury

Whether it’s on two wheels or two legs, families are invited to bike or hike April 30 at Riverfront Park in Pottstown.

People that attend the fitness activity will have the option to either bike or hike along the Schuylkill River Trail starting from the park which is located at 140 College Drive. West-Mont Christian Academy is hosting their annual Bike and Hike fundraiser for the school’s missions trip which will send students to Detroit, Mich. this year for flood relief efforts. The first Bike and Hike was held last year at Green Lane Park, said Christie Werkheiser, director of advancement for the academy.

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People walk in the woods at Green Lane Park during West-Mont Christian Academy’s annual Bike and Hike event last year. Courtesy of Atomos Photography

“It was very fun … It was a wonderful opportunity to be together with our families,” Werkheiser said who attended the fundraiser with her husband and two children.

She also said the event allowed people to experience the outdoors.

“It was a really special time to connect and not feel rushed,” she said.

This year’s Bike and Hike was moved to Pottstown to be closer to the academy’s campus which is in North Coventry. Gail Hallman, the academy’s director of curriculum and staff development, said there will be several checkpoints for participants depending on how long they want to bike or hike. They have the option to do a total of five miles, 10 miles or 20 miles. Hallman said the idea for the fitness event came from biking with her own family outdoors then noticing people hiking.

“We started to think that we could make this a community event that could be a fundraiser for the missions team,” she said.

People can register for the Bike and Hike as either an individual or a family. An individual registration is $15 and $50 for a family of four. Registrations are due by Friday, April 8, and must be either mailed or dropped off at the academy which is located at 873 S. Hanover St. All proceeds benefit the students part of the missions team.

“We do a variety of outreaches and every year it’s a little bit different,” Hallman said.

She said students have travelled to Guatemala, Panama, Belize, Washington D.C., New York City and New Jersey. Werkheiser said the Bike and Hike is a fun way for the academy and the community to support the missions team.

“Here at West-Mont, that is a really, really powerful portion of what we offer to the students because … it provides them with an opportunity to get outside of themselves to help others,” she said. “They learn to give to others.”

Werkheiser said the Bike and Hike also has the honor of being the initiating event for Strong at Heart. Strong at Heart is a community wellness initiative made up of schools, ministries and non-profit organizations. It will include several upcoming healthy events such as the Bike and Hike, a color fun run at The Hill School May 20 and a bike safety rodeo with the Pottstown Police Athletic League on June 18.

Strong at Heart is currently raising money to provide 200 fourth graders in the Pottstown area with brand new Huffy bicycles which they’ll receive at the bike rodeo. The community initiative is also meant to be a resource so Pottstown families are aware of healthy opportunities available in the area. To learn more about Strong at Heart, visit the website SAHPottstown.com.

To learn more about the Bike and Hike and to print off the registration form, visit the current events section at the bottom of the West-Mont Christian Academy website www.west-mont.org. Questions can also be directed to missions coordinator Elijah Platchek at 484-524-5463.

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