Cycling across the country is an intimidating task. Fortunately for 23 Pi Kappa Phi fraternity men, they have a powerful cause to push them the 4,350 miles.
The Journey of Hope TransAmerican Team is cycling from Seattle, Washington, to Washington D.C. in support of people with disabilities, said Adam Brown, project manager for the TransAmerica route.
The group arrived Saturday in Wyoming and will take a week to cycle across the state. The cyclists met with NOWCAP Services on Wednesday and The Arc of Natrona County on Thursday while traveling through Casper.
“Our participants really look forward to meeting with the cyclists,” said Renate Pullen, executive director of NOWCAP. “Their whole mission is focused on raising awareness and more inclusion for individuals with disabilities.”
The organization hosted a barbecue for the team at its campus location. Wednesday evening consisted of games and a dance party with clients of the organization.
The Arc of Natrona County hosted a similar evening. Both adult and child clients arrived at Wells Park to await the arrival of the team. Old Chicago donated pizza for dinner and the group participated in a handful of activities.
Bethany Young, the executive director of the Arc of Natrona County called it a “bonding experience.”
“They get to meet the population they are fundraising money for, and they get to know our families,” Young said.
The team has three months to make their journey and will be holding community events, advocacy presentations and grant support to select organizations.
“It wasn’t till I got involved with communities like these that I really found something that was just so rewarding to do and such an enjoyable and relaxing time,” Alec Framm, a Pi Kappa Phi cyclist said.
Once the group arrives in Washington D.C., its riders will meet with the other two teams making the cross-country trek. All three teams will have a banquet and final ceremony where awards will be handed out, Brown said.
The Ability Experience is a Pi Kappa Phi owned nonprofit philanthropy organization committed to raising awareness and funds for people with disabilities. To achieve its mission, the organization has shared experiences between members of the fraternity and participants of organizations like NOWCAP.
“My cousin has autism so it’s something that is kind of close to me,” Cameron Murer, a Pi Kappa Phi cyclist said. “Seeing the difference that us volunteering can make in a normal person’s life is cool to see.”
The organization also develops members of the fraternity to be servant leaders to help give back to those living with disabilities, Brown explained.
Each cyclist is required to raise $6,000 to cover their cost of participation and help with the overall goal, according to Brown. Journey of Hope has a goal to raise $200,000 per team for people with disabilities in 2019.