MARQUETTE, MI – The 906 Adventure Team began in Marquette in 2014 with the goal of providing outdoor biking opportunities to area youth, and since that time has grown to include 10 different Adventure Teams throughout Michigan and Wisconsin, with no signs of slowing down. They’re even moving into a bigger workplace in Marquette. Founder and Director of Adventure Todd Poquette said despite the hustle and bustle, the team is staying well grounded.
“It feels like we have a lot of work to do,” Poquette said. “People have been asking if I’m excited. And I’ve not gotten to that stage yet, because looking around us, there’s a lot of work to do, and spring is upon us, so we have to stay focused on pushing this thing forward, and getting settled and getting the office settled…maybe be excited later!”
And while Covid certainly created obstacles over the past few years – one in three non-profits faced closure at one point – 906 Adventure Team was able to keep going – which is fortunate, because increased screen time and virtual classes during the height of the pandemic led to increased childhood illnesses as well.
“We’ve seen a trend of kids being a little less active – more screen time, more social media,” said Dr. James Reinhart, “and that’s come along with with more stress, more anxiety, more depression, and more problems like obesity in children. So health has gotten worse for kids in a lot of ways.”
Dr. Reinhart is also the only pediatric cardiologist in the entire U.P. and a board member of 906 Adventure Team. He says it’s not just the kids who benefit from their accomplishments.
“Every kid, whether they’ve been biking for years or just started this year is going to learn new things,” Reinhart said. “Whether it’s getting over an obstacle they couldn’t before or getting up a hill they couldn’t before, or working well with other kids and learning to interact with each other in a positive way; because they’re not competing with each other. They’re competing just with themselves; like ‘I didn’t used to be able to get up this hill and now I can,’ and seeing that transition in them is just amazing.”
Dr. Ryan Brang – also on the board – said it’s about more than just riding a bike.
“It’s trail etiquette,” said Brang. “Trail maintenance, and building resilience. Community, doing hard things, and building strength of character and courage.”
They’ll keep doing those hard things – besides breaking ground at their new home in Marquette, a new Adventure Team has been added in La Crosse, Wisconsin, which will begin operations this summer.