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'iCan Shine' bike camp for autism spectrum needs volunteers

A new summer camp is coming that planners hope will offer a chance for fun and feelings of accomplishment for the special needs community in Rockdale County.

The Rockdale County Autism Support Group is hosting iCan Shine bike camp July 14 through July 18 at Rockdale County High School, located at 1174 Bulldog Circle in Conyers.

The camp will be the first in Rockdale County, but more than 30 other states have implemented the iCan Shine bike camp. Locally, Alpharetta has held the camp for the past five years, according to Rockdale organizer Esther Maclin.

"My son attended in 2012," Maclin said of the Alpharetta camp. "And it was such an awesome experience that I wanted to bring it here to our community."

Anyone with a disability may participate in the camp, not just those with autism.

Through daily 75-minute sessions, campers will be paired with a volunteer and learn to ride a two-wheel bicycle. But it goes beyond that, Maclin explained.

"This helps with health and wellness and social interactions," she said.

The camp will be held in the school and campers will wear helmets. Maclin explained "launch day," to be when the campers will set out for their first independent ride.

Space for campers is winding down, but Maclin described the need for volunteers as "dire." No prior experience is needed to be a volunteer and Maclin encouraged the community to consider the opportunity.

"This is an awesome experience for everyone involved, to see someone go from being hopeless and thinking that they will never learn how to ride to losing their training wheels," Maclin said. "Volunteers just need patience and a positive attitude."

A parent and volunteer orientation session will be held July 13.

Campers will need to bring their own bike. A technician will be on hand to inspect the bike.

Camp cost is $150.

Participation eligibility includes being at least eight years old, being able to walk without an assistive device, and weighing no more than 220 pounds.

For more information for riders or to volunteer, visit or www.