Out Our Front Door’s value #1 is Welcome. As our values statement reads, being Welcoming is “Foundational to who are and always will be. Everyone, and we mean everyone, is welcome to roll with us. We have a spirit of radical inclusivity and strive towards greater diversity in our organization and our participants. We are a community of bike riders that warmly support and encourage each other and everyone that rides with us regardless of what they, their bike, or their gear looks like. We operate with a genuine open spirit and kindness.”
Breanna has a lovely story about this value in action including our guides showing support, encouragement and kindness to help get a rider make a ride happen.
Article and photos by Breanna Bertacchi
As with any org, our goal is to have our mission reach as many folks as are willing to hear about it and love it and live it as much as we do. Over and over again, we hear participants reflect on how amazed they are by the individuals that represent our organization – it seems like we just naturally attract the most inclusive and welcoming people in Chicagoland. And as an org, we do our best to educate and train folks and provide resources to set the standards we hold, but there’s no way we can prepare someone for every scenario and in some ways we do fall back and rely on the interpersonal skills people bring naturally.
I can share an example I witnessed last year, this story centers someone who came on one of our summer rides. To quote this rider, they stated they’d been struggling to get back on the bike in the wake of an injury and some recent diagnoses, and then they found one of our rides; they signed up for it and then they were on the fence about committing to show up. To give some context, the Lead Guide ended up hopping on the phone with the rider and doing a deep-dive into the route and mileage, pace, other such things.
So this rider did end up committing and showing up for the ride; they share that it stood out to them how everyone in the group worked as a team to overcome some type challenge along the way and “When we rolled into camp, I felt as though I had broken a myth about my capabilities that I had bought into; I'm not exaggerating when I say that this trip returned me to myself. What a gift!” And that just feels like the ultimate culmination of what we want to help people accomplish. Our mission is to immerse folks in the nature of southern lake Michigan that we all love so much, and if, along the way, you rediscover something internal to yourself as well – then that’s just truly a reflection of our volunteers going above and beyond our Mission.
We believe in adventure, and sometimes its an adventure on its own to challenge your understanding of your surroundings & community, your ecosystems and even of your own self.
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"To immerse , educate, preserve & advance the history, culture, trails and native habitats of the Lower Lake Michigan Basin Area"