C of I student biking cross-country to build homes
2011. 06. 14.
College of Idaho student Caitlin Skufca loves outdoor activity. Over the past 12 months, Skufca has earned Academic All-American honors as a member of the C of I ski team and participated in IronMan Lake Placid, a grueling, 140.6-mile ultradistance triathlon in her native Upstate New York.
Skufca is taking her active lifestyle to a new extreme this summer by biking more than 3,000 miles across the country with the Bike and Build organization. The C of I junior is one of 31 young adults who will ride an average of 75 miles each day, taking days off to help affordable housing organizations build homes for needy families.
“I wanted to do something with my summer,” said Skufca, who begins her trek June 22 in Portsmouth, N.H. “I'm really looking forward to seeing the country and also helping build houses for people in need. We are going to get to meet the families we are building for, which is exciting.”
In preparation for the trip, Skufca raised the required $4,000 participation fee and worked as a volunteer on an affordable housing project with the Canyon County Habitat for Humanity in Caldwell. In return, Bike and Build is providing Skufca and her fellow riders with new road bikes, a support vehicle, meals and nightly accommodations at churches, schools, community centers and campgrounds.
Skufca rides her bike regularly both at C of I and in New York, but she knows the trek will not be easy.
“It's definitely going to be a challenge to get back on the bike every morning,” Skufca said. “But there is going to be so much to see and do. We get to stop and check out small diners along the way, we are going to visit the world's largest water park and we are riding through Glacier National Park. Plus I'm working on a research project about government involvement in affordable housing, so there will be plenty of motivation to keep going.”
Bike and Build is overseeing eight cross-country bike trips this summer. Skufca's group has the northernmost route, following the United States-Canada border most of the way from New Hampshire to Vancouver, British Columbia. Skufca has to leave the group in Montana to return to C of I in time for classes, but she plans to finish the remaining 400 miles at the beginning of next summer.
Over the past eight years, the Bike and Build organization has donated more than $2.7 million, volunteered more than 80,000 hours, biked more than 5 million miles and educated more than 1,200 young adults about the affordable housing crisis in America. For more information on the project, visit the Bike and Build website at www.bikeandbuild.org.
Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state's oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including six Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another ten Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.