A job change allowed Lori Antolec to commit to a volunteer opportunity, but little did she know that it would prove to give back so much more.
Last Thurs I attended the team cyclocross practice at Valmont bike park. I had not been to Valmont since June 30th…the last day of Boulder’s Little Bellas camp. The day I said ‘see you next year’ to my new friends who happened to be a group of 10-12 year old girls. Zooming around the trails at practice, I reminisced of the day Sophie rode over ‘that’ feature for the first time or Marina dropped into Corkscrew without hesitation. I smiled the entire cross practice – even while doing repeats on the 5280 stairs!
A job changed allowed me to commit to being a mentor for the Little Bellas program. New to the program, I would be paired with a seasoned mentor (Tiffany) and we would spend eight Thursday evenings working with our group learning and sharpening mountain bike skills. The first evening went by in a flash with registration, decorating name plates, introductions, riding and assessing if the riders were in the correct group. I was thankful for the name plates as it was tough to remember everyone’s name that evening. Our group gelled quickly. There was time to catch up with each other especially at the start of the evening as everyone arrived or while riding to the next skills area. Our group talked about what they did that day or were going to do the upcoming weekend. The friendships and trust blossomed within the group while the encouragement grew on the trails. For me, it never mattered how tough my workday was, the minute the girls arrived and started giggling and asking what they were going to learn – the stress just slipped away. Their positive energy was infectious! Color day was one of the most memorable. The girls would practice various skills and would be splashed with color. The best was at the end of the day, the girls were given the left over color to splash the mentors which sent 40 girls and mentors frantically running and laughing in all directions.
The 8 weeks flew by and so have the weeks since the last 2016 Boulder Little Bellas session. In addition to biking many miles, I cheered, laughed so hard I cried, sang, dabbed and soaked up all the great energy I could from my new friends. The volunteer opportunity was more satisfying than I imagined it would be and I hope I made as much of an impact on the girls as they did on me. I thought I was the one that was supposed to be giving but instead I definitely received. See you in 8 months Little Bellas!