My name is Santiago Contreras, and I am a Trail Ride Leader for Trips for Kids Marin. You can usually find me at the back of the group, as an assistant or sweep Ride Leader on Trail Rides supporting the kids who might need a bit more help. I am a fairly new Trail Ride Leader, but I love working with the kids and seeing all the fun and silly ways they express themselves. When I am not riding bikes with Trips for Kids Marin, I work as a Park Steward in Marin County Parks.
I love working for TFKM, because my position allows me to make space for those developing their inquiry mind-frame in relation to the outdoors. Because our participants come to us from either a classroom or other structured setting, helping them experience and enjoy the trail while riding is rewarding and brings out their curiosity about the world around them.
Another thing I love about working for TFKM is being goofy with our kids, especially through body language. Acting out how something feels is a fun and silly way to have the students flex their freedom of self expression. We often like to try and express or act how a participant felt before, during, and after a ‘grueling’ session. Even when we are just relaxing and holding space after a difficult section of the trail, being goofy as a group develops camaraderie among our bikers that I find deeply memorable. That being said, I am not talking about when participants exclaim, “Hey! Mr. Santiago look at this No Grip Bunny Hop I can pull off!” Rather, I mean the small moments fresh in your head after a ride that leave you with a feeling of satisfaction about an amazing afternoon and unforgettable moments with peers.