Kids and bicycles kind of go together. That is the thought behind the Spokes and Suds fundraiser that is happening this weekend in the Hamilton area. The CASA program, Court Appointed Special Advocates, is having a bike ride to raise funds for the program.
CASA volunteers are court appointed volunteers who watch over the children who are placed into foster care. Their mission is to make sure these children’s needs are being met and that they don’t fall through the cracks. The volunteers are trained, sworn officers of the court. They become involved when a child is found to be in a situation that is not safe for the child and so the courts remove them. CASA director Julie Crane said they currently have eight volunteers but need to have about 11 to effectively handle the caseload. Although the program receives some state assistance, it is not enough and so they must raise the funds themselves.
June 21st will be the second annual Spokes & Suds fundraiser. There are actually two bike rides, a 34-mile ride and a 14-mile ride. The 34-mile ride is a little more challenging said Crane. The ride will leave Red Barn Bicycles on Sleeping Child Road and head south on Highway 93 to Camas Creek Road. From there, the riders will peddle up Lost Horse and Lick Creek Roads, pass by Lake Como and continue to Old Darby Road for the return back to Red Barn Bicycles. The ride begins at 11 a.m. Saturday morning and is $50.
The 14-mile ride is more family friendly. This ride begins at noon and proceeds from Red Barn Bicycles south to Old Darby Road where the riders will ride to Wally Crawford Fishing Access and then back. Cost is $40 and children under 12 are free. The late registration fee has been waived for both rides.
Upon returning, riders will have a barbeque catered by Famous Dave’s Barbeque and music will be by David Baty. There will be local brews from Higher Ground Brewery – the ‘suds’ portion of the benefit.
Crane is very excited about the guest speaker for the event. Schylar Canfield is a product of the foster system in Montana. He entered the system at age 12. When he ‘aged’ out, he enlisted in the military and then went on to college. He is, according to Crane, a foster child all star. He is currently the president of the Montana CASA Board.
“This is a great opportunity to hear a success story,” said Crane.
Crane went on to say that riders for the ride are needed. Last year, the ride was much more demanding, across Skalkaho Pass to Philipsburg, and didn’t have many riders. She is hoping that by designing two different rides for different skill levels, there will be more willing to try the ride and also benefit the program.
As for the program, Crane said that anyone wishing to volunteer should call. Training is provided and anyone who can pass a background test can apply. The training involves a lot of play acting and putting the volunteers into situations they may not be comfortable with but those that are selected and become a volunteer have found a rewarding way to help youngsters.
More information on CASA can be found at BitterrootCASA.org. For Spokes and Suds information, please go to spokesandsudsforcasa.com. Crane can be reached at 961-4535.