Steamboat Springs Paige Boucher helped to create one of the most popular days of the school year in Steamboat Springs.
It’s the day hundreds of children get to bring their bikes to school and have free rein on the fields and parking lots.
The bike rallies she organized at Strawberry Park and Soda Creek elementary schools also have helped to teach hundreds of children how to cycle and cycle safely.
And she said the results never got old.
“One of the best things I have to say is watching the little kids either get up on their bikes for the first time or bike to school,” Boucher said Wednesday.
Boucher, who pioneered this city’s Safe Routes to School Program and who played a key role in organizing the rallies and hike and bike days at area elementary schools, is stepping away from the leadership role she has held for nine years.
“It’s really grown, and it’s been embraced by the community,” Boucher said about the Safe Routes program.
“It was a labor of love. It just kept gaining momentum.”
That momentum continues this year as the city of Steamboat for the first time plans to fund a Safe Routes to School director who will replace Boucher.
The new director will oversee the bike rallies and the hike and bike-to-school days.
Boucher will be available to serve as a mentor for the new director.
“It’ll be a good thing to put on a resume in the future, and it’s a great way if you have kids to stay involved in the schools,” Boucher said about the job opening. “It was my way of being involved in the schools, and that’s important as a parent.”
Boucher said she’s stepping away from the leadership role because of the demands from her new business and because she no longer has a child at the elementary schools.
Boucher started hike- and bike-to-school days in 2004 at Strawberry Park to promote exercise while getting cars off the road.
Her daughter was in first grade at the time.
As the programs grew, Boucher also helped to secure state grant funding for the programs and worked to develop the Safe Routes maps that show the safest ways for children to get to school.
In the 2010-11 school year, Boucher was recognized by the Steamboat Springs School Board as a Friend of Education for her efforts to promote biking and hiking at schools.
“She’s amazing,” Soda Creek Elementary School Principal Michele Miller said Wednesday. “She just digs in and helps. People like to do things for her because she’s a hard worker.”
The new Safe Routes director will be a contract position under Bike Town USA and will receive $1,600 from 2014 to April 2015.
To learn more about the position, read the job posting below.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10