Geerz During Corona
As much of the world remains largely shut down in the face of the deadly coronavirus, Israel's Ministry of Health guidelines required us to suspend our riding sessions indefinitely. The crisis is incredibly challenging for everyone, especially for the kids who look forward to the primal freedom of riding in the trails, but have been stuck indoors week after week. For many Geerz kids who grapple with emotional and social issues, the significance of these rides goes far beyond getting some exercise and fresh air.
The relationships that are created with instructors and co-riders and the therapeutic benefits gleaned from the carefully crafted curriculum serve as an anchor in their lives and foster a sense of security and accomplishment. The loss of this can be devastating and Geerz instructors have maintained close contact with their kids and their parents. This has provided a much needed sense of continuity. Like everyone else, we pray that this will soon be over. In the meantime, however, we have utilized the time to undertake the monumental task of revising our 250 page curriculum to reflect a fast changing society and to better focus on the expanding range of challenges faced by kids in our modern society.
"My daughter struggles with a severe eating disorder. She is ten years old, but looks barely six because she is so thin. When she heard about Geerz, she desperately wanted to join. We decided to use Geerz as leverage to get her to eat more. We agreed that she could participate in Geerz if she upheld an eating arrangement. We had previously tried everything else, and she would never even come close to agreeing. To our surprise, she accepted our condition. To be honest, we did not get our hopes up.
However, after her first session, with the support of the Geerz staff, our daughter did not come home frustrated or angry that she could barely ride her bike because of her lack of muscle mass or energy. On the contrary, she came home feeling understood and encouraged. It has been six months since our daughter started Geerz. She has gained weight and muscle. She has gained confidence and self-esteem; she has a healthier relationship with food. I know that Geerz saved my daughter."
It is precisely now, when the future looks so uncertain, that Geerz intends to redouble our efforts to reach hundreds of kids who desperately need our empowering and therapeutic mountain biking programs. Last year, we embarked on an ambitious expansion into the hard-hit town of Sderot, along the Gaza periphery. The program was a spectacular success. As word spread, the demand for additional programs was overwhelming and our one original group quickly grew to five. Virtually 100% of the children of Sderot suffer from PTSD as a result of the incessant rocket attacks from Gaza. The transformation in many of these kids was extraordinary and therefore we intend on bringing the program to many new periphery communities and development towns. We are even exploring opening groups in the Bedouin and Druze communities.
The only barrier at this stage is financial. The families in these communities cannot afford to pay even the highly subsidized tuition that Geerz charges. That leaves us with the responsibility of raising funds to defray the entire cost of these programs. So how can you help Geerz transform the lives of these promising Israeli youth? Please consider sponsoring a kid for $1800. Partner with others in your community or family members to sponsor an entire group for $10,000. Join our imcomparable charity biking adventure in the biblical landscape of Israel’s Western Galilee on November 8-10, featuring both gravel and mountain biking routes. Of course, we are grateful for every level of support. Every little bit helps. To support Geerz, please click on the donation button above. Thanks so much for your support.
A Geerz Lesson
The broader Geerz mission is to teach critical life skills through mountain biking. Here is an example of how we teach this:
Mountain biking trails can be rugged, especially after rough weather has wrought havoc with the elements or the trails have been neglected, as they have been during the coronavirus crisis. When an imposing obstacle along the trail blocks our forward progress, the way to move ahead is often intimidating and far from obvious. At Geerz, we teach our riders to “choose a line”. Most beginners focus on the obstacles and hazards to avoid, rather than choosing the path they want to take.
The relevance of this quandary to our lives in general presents a unique opportunity to teach the following life lesson: In life, as on the trail, we focus on how to achieve our goal, rather than being paralyzed by the obstacles that stand in our way. The instructor shows the way and the discussion that ensues is truly eye-opening.