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Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011

NYPUM Rodeo held at Berkshire for 2nd year

Three-day event was part of National Youth Project Using Minibikes (NYPUM)

For more information, contact Keith Toomey 518-781-4567 ext. 2542 or via email.

Canaan, NY – August 17, 2011 – About 100 students from various locations in northeastern U.S. gathered for the second year in a row at Berkshire Farm Center’s Residential Treatment Center campus in Canaan, New York for the 35th East NYPUM Rodeo. The three-day event was held August 9 - 11 and was filled with plenty of camaradarie, healthy competition and fun. The Rodeo, held each year by the National Youth Project Using Minibikes (NYPUM), was a great success, bringing youth together with carefully organized events, including Observed Trials, a low-speed test of maneuvering skills, a Hot Dog race, with riders trying to grab a bite of a hot dog suspended on a string, and other fun-filled events that test their abilities handling a minibike. NYPUM officials say they plan to hold future Rodeos at Berkshire Farm Center.

imageNYPUM was founded in 1969 by American Honda Motor Company as a way to promote the positive development of at-risk youth. The manufacturer initally donated 10,000 minibikes to get started and continues to support the program today. NYPUM provides at-risk youth in America an opportunity to develop self-esteem, strong values, and a sense of responsibility using the minibike as a motivational tool. Participants work with their parents or guardians and a Certified NYPUM Instructor to create their own Success Plans—agreements that identify personal goals and challenges that are relevant to each participant. Through the use of minibikes, youths participate in challenging and fun activities with peers and positive adult role models. Today NYPUM operates more than 50 programs in communities from Los Angeles to Boston.

imageBerkshire Farm Center’s NYPUM program began in 2009 with adolescent males who live and attend school at Berkshire’s Residential Treatment Center participating. NYPUM has been life-changing for some of these youths. Gerry Hinman, Berkshire’s Coordinator of Therapeutic Recreation programming as well as the Coordinator for the “BEST” Grant, which funds Berkshire’s NYPUM program, said the youths participating in Berkshire's NYPUM program have shown remarkable progress and success. "The Rodeo was a great boost to our program," said Hinman, "despite the rains that greeted us for the first day." Those rains left, however, and most of the event was sunny and dry. “There's a real sense of camaradarie and community with the kids in the NYPUM program," added Hinman. "Genuine friendships get started here, between the youth and instructors.

Ken Hutchinson is the National NYPUM Director, said they were happy to return to Berkshire Farm Center again this year. Berkshire has a 2,000 acre campus and lots of space to hold the different events.

Mark Speller, NYPUM's Director of Program Development and Operations, remarked that the youths in NYPUM programs work very hard to prepare for the Rodeo. "Attending such a great event like this gives them a genuine sense of pride and accomplishment,” Speller said.

“The NYPUM program here at Berkshire Farm Center has a tremendously positive impact on our youth,” said Tim Giacchetta, Berkshire’s CEO. “We're seeing significant benefits, especially with our students working toward their own treatment goals." Those typically include making good decisions in their lives, and according to Giacchetta.

The youth participating in NYPUM at Berkshire Farm Center must earn their way into the program through their behavior, attitude, and performance in school. “They deserve to feel proud of their accomplishments, said Hinman. He explained that NYPUM Rodeos are a way to reward youth for their achievements at school and with their treatment goals. Youth who show exceptional improvement through the program are invited to attend these Rodeos, which include overnight camping, free time, and competitive challenges using the minibikes. Events at the East NYPUM Rodeo included range trials, barrel races, haystack races, slow races, and skills trials. NYPUM's minibike riding curriculum follows guidelines set by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF).

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