NextGen Athlete Development and Welland Racing are focused on developing the next generation of competitive cyclist through service, mentorship, and commitment to building lifetime athletes. We look to challenge our athletes through character-driven athletics: with integrity, respect, responsibility and sportsmanship. In order to achieve this goal NextGen Athlete Development and Welland Racing have a three pronged approach. Our three focuses are on outfitting, education and implementation.
Every sport has its barriers to entry and for cycling a main one is the initial cost equipment. With the help of our generous donors and sponsors we would like to ease or eliminate that barrier by having a stable of bikes in various sizes available for our junior riders for when they are just starting out and as they continue to grow and need a larger frame size. We would also like to be able to help ease the cost of cycling apparel and equipment. Many of us know how a good pair of bib shorts can make a long ride more enjoyable or how an ill fitting pair of shoes can be a major distraction and eventually lead to injury.
Education is our next main focus, now that we have gotten our Juniors on bikes what do they do with them? A lot of people know how to ride a bike, but do they understand how a bike’s fit triggers different muscle groups? How different forms of training both on and off of the bike can make them a stronger, more stable and safer rider? Do they know how to fix a flat on the side of the road, or fix their chain if it drops? This is the education we want to provide for our Juniors. We want our Juniors to be confident, strong independent riders who can also help out their fellow cyclists with a mechanical if needed. We believe this education will make them better cyclists as well as people. We provide this education through our Ambassadors and Legacy Mentors. These are our adult volunteers taking the Juniors out on rides, teaching them about cornering, race tactics, teamwork, how to properly keep their bike clean and most importantly how to be better people.
Now that we have gotten our Juniors on bikes, educated them on how to use them, it is time to put all of this into action. We are off to the races! Racing helps hone one’s bike handling skills, teaches teamwork and strategy. It is also a great way to evaluate one’s own strengths and weaknesses as well as meet new people and learn how to be a good sportsman. The race team is comprised of junior development athletes as young as 9 years old through 23. We chose these ages because they are in accordance with USA Cycling’s rules and regulations, nine is the youngest a racer can be and 23 has historically been the top end of the Junior/ Collegiate Category. Our Legacy Mentors now become teammates and together with the Juniors they experience the race. The racing community is relatively small and you see the same group of individuals at each race, here is where you learn to compete and respect one’s fellow competitors because you will be seeing them again and again, week after week.
Our all-volunteer organization is run by an Executive Board and Board of Directors. Our board members have a diverse range of professional backgrounds and all possesses an interest in helping to develop the next generation of Junior cyclists. Our Executive board is made up of a; President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Our Board of Directors is comprised of additional members of the community who have both the time and desire to make this organization work. In order to keep our organization running smoothly we also have a set of committees each headed by a board member and made up of individuals from the membership. These committees include; Sponsorship, Fundraising, Finance, Ambassador Liaison, Legacy Liaison, Junior Liaison and Membership Liaison. We want our members to have pride and ‘ownership’ in our organization so we encourage them to be as involved as possible.
NextGen Athlete Development is solely funded by donations and sponsorships from outside partners who believe in our mission statement, core values, and share the same vision of junior athlete development. We believe by holding fundraisers with the entire membership involved creates a stronger sense of community and responsibility. Our organization’s sole focus is on developing our junior athletes into competitive cyclist and giving young lives an opportunity to grow, succeed, learn, and one day maybe earn a college scholarship or a professional cycling contract.
Interested in starting the Membership Process? Membership Applications