Board of Directors
Patrick and Julie Childers, Co-Founders
It really started in 1996 when Pat Childers was asked to take a group of teens on a bike ride so younger kids could find all the hidden Easter eggs unencumbered. What the teens realized was that the bike ride was the highlight of their day and Pat realized he needed to keep these kids rolling. So when Pat and Julie realized there were many kids in their community who simply couldn’t access nearby nature trails due to several barriers, they knew they had to do something.
In 2002, after years of ad hoc rides with kids, they started Trips for Kids Metro DC to offer many underserved youth the opportunity to experience the sheer joy that comes from biking, especially in nature. In 2009 they realized their nature-based programs exceeded the TFK national program model and changed the organization name to TrailsforYouth.Org (TYO) and it has taken off ever since.
TYO programs go beyond biking to a more holistic approach to encouraging active exploration of nature – bike, hike, fish, kayak etc. For many, these programs are a lifeline and only opportunity they can access nature trails. Without TYO removing barriers – transportation, mentoring and equipment use – these youth just wouldn’t have the chance to experience the amazing trails so close to their home. As youth overcome the obstacles they encounter on the trails, they gain valuable self-confidence. During our programs youth receive a healthy dose of exercise, connectivity to nature and a boost in self-esteem. It’s why our motto is “teaching kids to overcome obstacles on the trails and in life!”
Now past our 20th year of offering these transformative programs to our local underserved youth, we continually look to hone our programs and keep the kids rolling. Perhaps you will join us on one of these adventures.
Ken Scott, President of the Board
Realizing that the need was there for kids to be introduced to the surrounding trail system in PG County, Ken joined TYO as an original Board Member waaaay back in 2003. He has helped to guide the organization for years. As a Master Bicycle Technician at REI, Ken has invaluable experience with the bikes and helps maintain the fleet of bicycles. However, it’s his calm manner and thousands of hours of dedicated commitment to the kids that make Ken one of TYO’s highest valued Ride Leaders.
Patrick Childers, Director
Pat Childers is a Senior Advisor in the United States EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, where he oversees a Federal Advisory Committee on air quality issues and is a children’s health representative on air quality issues. Prior to this position, Mr. Childers worked in the Agencies Office of Transportation and Air Quality for 20 years on a myriad of mobile source issues including clean vehicles, fuels, and bicycling issues. Mr. Childers is also co-founder (with his wife Julie) of TrailsforYouth.Org. A Northern Virginia based children’s health organization that uses bicycles to teach children life lessons on the importance of physical activity, nutrition, and environmental awareness. Since its inception, TYO has worked with nearly 10,000 youth and has twice been recognized as one of “the best small charities in Greater Washington” by the Catalog for Philanthropy. Mr. Childers is a bike commuter, mt biker, and proud father of two boys, both of who are safe cyclists!
Gary Bangs has been actively involved with children and youth issues for over 40 years. Starting his career in law enforcement he was appointed as the Butler County (Iowa) representative on a regional substance abuse committee and made numerous school presentations deterring drug abuse. While completing his B.A. in sociology from the University of Northern Iowa he volunteered and was named Big Brother of the year for the Black Hawk County Big Brother chapter. He worked several years as a residential counselor for neglected and abused boys (aged 11-17) at Jerry Rabiner’s Boy Ranch (Ft. Dodge, IA). Then in 1987, he became an investigator with a Federal government law enforcement agency where he worked for 28 years before his retirement Feb. 2015. During that time he received his M.A. in sociology from Cleveland State University. While working for the government in the Washington DC area he volunteered as a mentor with Asian American LEAD, a youth group helping Vietnamese children with school and learning English. Mr. Bangs has been active with school parent-teacher associations in Springfield, VA where he became familiar with the Trails for a Youth organization. He also is a volunteer officer/director with the Springfield Swim and Racquet Club, a nonprofit association providing recreational opportunities to neighborhood citizens with an emphasis on teaching children how to swim. He and his wife (Maribel) lives in Springfield with their two school-aged children, both of who have been involved in Trails for Youth activities.
Janet has been volunteering and mountain biking since she was old enough to reach the pedals. Her parents taught her the importance of volunteer work and enjoying the great outdoors! She joined the TYO Board when she was a 5thGrade AAP teacher at Springfield Estates Elementary school where she ran the Girls Exploring Math and Science (GEMS) Club for 5th and 6thgrade girls and the Electronics Club for 6th grade. She was also a coach for Odyssey of the Mind and assisted with Girls Run Club. Janet is passionate about applying academics to the real world! Mountain biking can be used to explore geometry, ratios, physics, types of energy, and the importance of physical education! She has been teaching music and sailing for 20 years. Janet enjoys running, biking, and every water sport. As a member of TYO’s Board, she loved bringing the classroom to the trails and the lake to help students of all ages overcome obstacles! She currently enjoys teaching her two children about biking, nature, and how to explore the world!
Pat was introduced to volunteering by his mother early in life; he has practiced what his mother shared with him throughout his life. Pat joined the TrailsforYouth.Org (TYO) Board in 2010 and has served as the TYO President since 2013. Pat particularly enjoys joining the TYO youth for the summer weekend mountain biking rides as well as the annual summer camping trip to Rocky Gap State Park. Prior to joining the TYO Board, Pat served as a Big Brother mentor from 2004-2009; upon becoming a Big Brother, Pat quickly joined the Big Brothers Big Sisters Northern Virginia Council, or NovaBigs, where he served as President from 2005-2009. Pat has always loved the outdoors; he is an avid runner, biker, tennis player, hiker, and skier (most recently, he summitted North Pal mountain in CA and heli-skied in British Columbia). Pat is a program engineering manager at Orbital-ATK where he continues to pursue his childhood dreams of launching rockets.
I have lived in the DC area for 27 years, starting in DC, followed by two years in
Maryland, and the remaining time of over 20 years in Northern Virginia. Grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. Love being outdoors and stayed out of college for a semester between my Sophomore and Junior years to spend 7 months living and working in Yosemite National Park, an amazing experience. Back in the mid-1980’s, after completing an MPA at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU, got married and came out to the DC area to work at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As a colleague of Pat Childers for years, I became intrigued with the wonderful work he and Julie were doing with what is now called “Trails for Youth.” I was pleased to join the Board in 2009 to help in this worthwhile effort to bring kids in touch with nature and healthier lifestyles. My husband Eric, who is an avid camper, sailor, and kayaker, has also joined me and become a supporter of Trails for Youth’s mission.
5 year Board member President for 3 years, avid MTB’ing and MTB Advocacy for over a decade. Scott retired after 21 years with HP and was proclaimed by his friends as an International Man of Leisure. His wife Margaret and he traveled extensively. He brought smiles and joy to all the kids he helped teach biking, or encourage to try one more lap, one more ride, one more push of effort. In 2014 he suffered a severe bike accident and ultimately passed away. His legacy lives on in all those he helped instill a love of mountain biking or racing. He was always in the background helping, cooking, encouraging, and in short leading. He was always willing to take the time to make the effort. We will continue to honor him in all our efforts.