To celebrate Bike Month 2022, St Augustine's School Your Move team decided to take on the challenge of applying for a Bike Month grant to host an offsite event on a Sunday to encourage families and individuals in our community to get out on their bikes and enjoy riding in a safe environment close to our school. Kuljak Island was identified as a great place to hold this event. The island is traffic free, except for a small parking area. It has lots of differing surfaces to practice skills (bitumen, gravel, grass, sand and wooden bridges) and it is within a reasonable riding distance from our school.
Bike Month Grant: The proposal to WestCycle was simple. A family bike riding treasure hunt on a traffic free island with ice creams and prizes as an extra incentive to motivate the children to ask their parents to participate. Our Principal Mr DiCarlantonio was very supportive of the idea to invite the wider community to celebrate Bike Month with us. This meant that we could apply for a more substantial Bike Month grant than we had in the past. We were successful in our application for a $900 grant which would cover the cost of ice-creams, stationery, printing, advertising and prizes.
Additional help from the P & F: Due to the scale of this event, Mr D suggested that the traditional Your Move Team get some help from the P & F. I met with the P & F president who had some excellent suggestions of parents who could help to organise the event.
Seeking approval : The City of Belmont's venue booking team (firstname.lastname@example.org) advised that the City only manages a small portion of the island. See picture below. Use of the rest of the island requires from the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (email@example.com). Tristan Duke at DPLH was extremely helpful. The only requirement was that Mr D had to sign an indemnity form. Approval was granted from both parties, with a warning that there are no facilities on the island - including toilets.
Booking Suppliers: We contacted multiple ice cream vendors seeking value for money and simplicity of sale. We landed on Suzy's Icecream Truck who were happy to provide $3 per plain icecream or $4 per ice cream with a topping. As we didn't have a great idea of attendance yet, it was great that they were happy to be flexible around the amount of sales and suggested using either a ticket system or a fixed total price limit. We limited our ticket sales on Eventbrite based on the $3 per head budget, but in the end we were able to provide the $4 option.
We also decided as a team that it was important to provide a toilet as there are no toilet facilities on the island. We contacted multiple vendors with quite a lot of variation in their pricing and offerings. We decided on a trailer mounted single portable toilet which cost $150 for Friday to Monday from Classic Hire in Kewdale. As we hadn't budgeted for a toilet in our grant submission, we decided to use the $150 that was budgeted for prizes and instead make up the shortfall by purchasing our prizes with our rewards points through the Your Move Rewards Shop.
Designing the hunt: The team took quite a few trips to the island to look for clues to make the hunt. After riding around on the island a few times, we decided to split the event into 3 separate hunts with around 8 clues per hunt - beginner (Landlubbers Loop - all on bitumen - 1km), intermediate (Shiver Me Timbers - gravel path through shaded woodlands - 4kms) and advanced (Walk the Plank - crossing bridges and skills tests - 2kms). We were sure to include options for families where some or all participants use other forms of active travel such as prams, scooters, tricycles, training wheels and plain old FEET!
For each clue we made a note of the GPS co-ordinates of the location of the clue using the camera app on our phones, and we used https://snazzymaps.com/build-a-map to build three separate maps of Kuljak Island with markers pointing out where each of the clues would be located.
By importing a screenshot of the snazzy map to Canva, we could separate the island outline, the markers and the desired route and rom the rest of the map to leave a neat 'treasure map'.
Variations and Testing: The first version of the map was designed to be accessed on a device via a QR code. The corresponding questions were to be accessed by MS forms also via a QR Code - this was the easy and environmentally responsible way to provide the maps, collect the responses, draw the raffle without the need to carry paper or writing tools. BUT after only one round of user testing, we found it was simply too difficult and risky for children to carry a device on their bikes. Also, switching between the map and the MS forms page to answer the questions proved tricky, and let's not talk about the sibling squabbles over the one device! As a group we landed on the idea of using one piece of paper for both the clues, the map, and the responses and provide elastic bands to hold a pencil and the paper to participants handle bars.
Promotion: We started our promotion of the event with a 'Save the Date' in August via the newsletter and the P & F facebook page with minimal information due to the secrecy imposed by WestCycle regarding the grant announcements. When we were given the green light from WestCycle to start our promotions we used the template provided to create an eventbrite page to start taking tickets - we limited the tickets to 200. We also printed flyers to put up around the school and posted on the school app, the newsletter the school calendar and both internal and external social media. Our school team promoted the event to other local Catholic schools via the local CEWA group. Unfortunately we missed the deadline to advertise in the local media as we had planned, a lesson for next time.
In the week leading up to the event, the Yr 6 Your Move student team when from classroom to classroom to further promote the event. They started each presentation with 'Who wants free ice-cream?' and provided flyers and QR links to students who wanted to remind their parents to organise tickets for their families. Unsurprisingly, this simple exercise generated quite a few extra ticket 'sales'.
Final Preparations: On the Friday before the event, the YM team had a quick meeting to finalise each of our responsibilities. We also printed the treasure hunt map & clue sheets and created a box to draw the raffle prizes from. Mr Breen, our Phys Ed teacher, helped the Your Move team gather the items we would need for the event day and load them into the car.
- A gazebo
- Trestle table
- Witches hats
- Box of prizes
- St A promo flags
- First Aid Kit
- Rope for games
- Sidewalk chalk
Once ticket 'sales' had closed on Friday night, I sent out an email to all ticket holders to provide more information about the event. I included a map with 3 safe routes to get to the event by bike from the school area and, for those choosing to drive, parking instructions away from the island to keep the area clear for other community members.
On the day of the event, the weather was excellent riding conditions, cool and cloudy, with temperatures at 21 degrees. Unfortunately, it was also quite windy, but the team were not going to let that get their spirits down!
The team arrived an hour early to ensure that everything was set up and ready to go. To reserve a spot for the ice cream truck, they placed witches' hats in the parking lot. They also set up the rented portable toilet, which proved to be a very well utilised resource given the lack of facilities on the island. Despite the wind, the team managed to securely erect the gazebo, thanks to the hard ground, sturdy pegs and parent volunteers. Some of the student team members were also tasked to mark the PSP leading from Rivervale to Kuljak Island with chalk directions, to guide the participants along the safest route to the event.
As families began to arrive, the P & F helpers at the registration desk assisted by ticking off names, and providing instructions and map packs to each family group. They provided tailored advice and descriptions of each of the routes available to ensure that everybody was comfortable to choose a challenge within their skill level.
As each family group returned their first map, the P & F team provided them with an ice cream voucher and assisted them to place their competed entry form into the raffle box. Families who returned quickly were given the option to tackle the other maps for more raffle entry tickets.
As the clock drew closer to 3pm, some families chose to participate in the bike skills games while others wanted to be first in line for the ice cream truck.
Once everyone had finished their icecream, Mr D donned his pirate hat and called forth the buccaneers for the prize draw. There were plenty of prizes to choose from and the winners were able to select from the display table in the order that they were pulled from the box.
Results and Feedback: Out of 156 eventbrite registrations, we had 120 participants attend on the day. While the majority of participants were either friends or families of St Augustine, we had a few new families joining from neighbouring schools. Most families completed more than one map and many families rode to the event from home. For many of the participants, this was their biggest day of riding ever.
Parents provided great feedback and were excited to share their photos (see below for some of the photos shared from out on course). One participant said “I never knew this Island existed, and I never knew it was so easy to get here from home" another encouraged the team to share the maps with the City of Belmont to encourage more of our community to utilise the Island for bike adventures.
Grant Acquittal: The acquittal process for the Bike Month grant was pretty straight forward. WestCycle provide a 2 page questionnaire to describe the outcome of the event as well as a table to itemise the grant funding expenditure. In preparation for the acquittal responses we had surveyed participants' skill level as part of the eventbrite registration process (this was a lesson that was learned from our Bike Month 2022 reflections). Even though it was straightforward, the acquittal needed to be completed and returned within 7 days of the event.
Reflections: Without the assistance of the testers, the P & F and the support of the school staff, the event would not have been possible. A special mention goes to our teachers who gave up their personal time on a Sunday to be with our community.
Many families took the time to personally thank the Your Move team and the majority of feedback provided was that this event exceeded expectations.
WestCycle's 3 Bike Month objectives were clearly met, with many families discovering the island for the first time and feeling confident to get there by bike and have a great time in a safe environment. Many said they will be using their bikes more often as a result of the new found confidence, while others said this was the push they needed to get their bikes our of the shed.
Despite the countless hours spent on preparing the treasure hunt and ensuring that the event was both safe and enjoyable for all participants, the realisation that the event ignited a sense of adventure in participants and inspired families in our community to use their bikes more often made every moment of preparation worthwhile. As the most challenging aspects of the preparation can be re-used, we may even consider organising a Treasure Island Bike Month event in 2023.
This story itself has also been a labour of love (hence the late submission). I hope that the detail provided can inspire other Your Move schools to apply for WestCycle Bike Month grants to host their own events. If you'd like to host an treasure hunt event on Kuljak Island, then you are welcome to use our map and clue pages (attached as a resource) to assist you with the most time consuming part of the process. If anyone would like any more information, please don't hesitate to reach out.
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