Engage the Youth: Travel Sponsorship for Youth in Chicago
Engage the Youth aims to provide low-income youth in the Chicago area and surrounding suburbs the opportunity to tour Chicago with a parent or adult mentor. These tours include bike tours, walking tours, and food tours along the lakefront, famous neighborhoods, and downtown attractions.
Mark Twain once said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
It’s within this spirit that we see how travel has a direct impact on social change and within “Engage the Youth” was born, because travel can have a profound impact on society not only when people travel around the world but can be just as impactful for those who travel around the block in their own city.
For every Gift Card purchased through Bobby’s Bike Hike, 25% of the value will be matched by Bobby’s and go towards our Engage the Youth program. Gift Cards can be purchased online at any time. Gift Cards can be purchased in any amount and do not expire.
Our hope is that by learning more about Chicago, youths will feel more connected to the city.
We believe that a guided tour led by one of our Chicago experts is an engaging way for youths to learn about the city, but we recognize that not everyone has the financial means to pay for this experience. However, denying the future leaders of our country this opportunity to learn about their hometown is not the Chicago way. In the 1890s, Montgomery Ward fought every developer in the city to keep our gorgeous lakeshore “forever open, clear, and free” for all Chicagoans. The world-famous Art Institute of Chicago is free for all Chicagoans under 18, as well as for low-income Chicagoans of any age. Internationally renowned musicians, such as Yo-Yo Ma, have hosted free concerts for all to attend at Pritzker Pavilion. It’s initiatives like these that reinforce Chicago’s commitment to be a city for all its citizens, not just the wealthy ones.
Our hope is that by learning more about Chicago, youths will feel more connected to the city. Passionate about the city. Concerned about the city. Those who feel these things will be the ones to lead Chicago’s future. This opportunity shouldn’t be limited to youths whose parents can pay for it.
How the Engage the Youth Chicago Program helps encourage youth to discover their hometown.
When visiting a new city, you often learn about it on the macro-level but don’t get to experience it on the micro-level. Residents of a city have the opposite experience. We think we know a city simply by living in it, but we oftentimes just know our own little worlds, unless we make a conscious effort to explore outside our communities and neighborhoods.
That is why it’s important not just to tour foreign cities but to also tour your hometown, your one backyard. Touring your hometown allows you to experience it from a different perspective. We want to take youths out of their everyday paths and schedules of school, work, and other obligations to see Chicago with fresh eyes. On city tours with Bobby’s Bike Hike, youth will interact with guests from all over the world, helping them discover how Chicago is similar to and different from other areas of the world. It’s also an opportunity for outside visitors to learn more about daily life in Chicago from a youth’s perspective. Our tours are more than just listening to guides tell stories about Chicago, they are an opportunity to share an experience with others and exchange perspectives.
Who is eligible for the Engage the Youth Chicago Program?
We are seeking teachers, counselors, and programs to partner with to help engage the youth with our program. The qualifications are any student who shows determination, promise, and resolve despite a difficult situation, whether that be a financial hardship or undue burden. Teachers/counselors can nominate candidates and candidates can nominate themselves or each other for the program. To nominate, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to title the subject line as ‘Engage the Youth Candidate’.
Youth must be accompanied by an adult chaperone who is over the age of 25 years old.
How can candidates book through Engage the Youth Chicago Program?
Once a candidate has been awarded, they will be emailed two vouchers to the program with instructions on how to sign up for their tour. Youth must be accompanied by an adult chaperone who is over the age of 25 years old.
Adults chaperones of the candidates can make their specific reservations through the BobbysBikeHike.com website, using their uniquely given code during checkout. If the candidate or adult chaperone does not have internet access, they can call us at 312-245-9300 with their code and a staff member will be happy to make the reservation for them. Specific dates and times are not guaranteed, they are based on a first-come-first-serve basis. We encourage advance reservations to make sure the programmed tour date/time will be available.