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Vista’s Finance Team Gives Pedal Power MN an Extra Push

four people stand with bikes
Left to Right: Chip Sexton, Clint Allen, Karie Roers, Kim Knapp prep for the 7-mile ride

It would be tough to forget the disappointing story last November.

Someone in the Minneapolis area took advantage of a local non-profit, stealing an equipment-filled trailer from Pedal Power Minnesota, an organization that teaches kids how to bike and fosters exploring their neighborhoods on bike.

Vista Outdoor took a sour situation and did their best to make it right by donating Bell helmets, Bell bike pumps and other Bell and CamelBak accessories to help replace what was stolen. Vista Outdoor also joined with 235 other Minnesotans in supporting the Give Minnesota Pedal Power campaign with a $30,000 donation.

The feel-good story published as the community flipped the calendar to December, 2020.

This summer, Vista Outdoor’s Finance team gave the cause an extra push by choosing Pedal Power Minnesota as the organization to support for the team’s annual Leadership Meeting.

kids on bikes
Pedal Power kids prep for their community ride.

“We typically do an annual charity event. This year, we wanted to support an activity that falls in line with Vista Outdoor’s mission to bring the world outside,” explained Mark Kowalski, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer.

About 25 Vista Outdoor employees from most of the business units and the corporate finance functions attended the charity event. The crew split up, half of them taking a 7-mile bike ride with inner city children and the other half turning wrenches, greasing chains and cleaning about 40 kids bikes that are used year-round. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

“One of the more rewarding aspects of the day was seeing the pride and excitement from the kids who came to ride that afternoon; they were so excited to lead us on a bike ride through their community,” Lynnette Hillmer, Sr. Director of Internal Audit, said. “We saw the dedication of the Pedal Power founders and other adult leaders, who not only provide the bikes and equipment for the kids, but take the time to teach them how to ride and show them where they can access local parks/green space within their community.”

Group doing bike maintenance
Performing Bike Maintenance (Front to back): Bill Oldham, Terri Braddock, Lynnette Hillmer, Andy Keegan

Lynnette explained the Pedal Power Minnesota leaders mentored the kids on how to communicate with the Vista team, including what questions to ask and how to share about themselves and their involvement with Pedal Power.

“Pedal Power’s commitment to providing growth and opportunities for the kids goes far beyond the bikes. It was a great opportunity to get to learn more about a local resource with a mission to bring outdoor access to a community with otherwise limited resources,” said Lynnette.

Kim Knapp, Controller at CamelBak walked away feeling inspired by what Pedal Power does for area kids.

“Pedal Power is teaching a skillset and providing a community that will benefit these kids for life. The program encourages kids to stay fit and healthy. It gives them a place to go after school, a means of transportation so they can always get around town and an opportunity to learn and lead. Plus, what they learn will help ” Kim said. “This the type of program that crosses boundaries and helps overcome some of the inequalities we see in the world today.  Start young, give kids the tools they need and the confidence to succeed. Great people, awesome attitudes, and many opportunities to excel!”