LAKE PLACID - Around 30 lucky Lake Placid Elementary School students were given free bicycles Wednesday, June 18 at the Lake Placid Conference Center, thanks to participants in the State University of New York Technology conference.
The event was part of the conference-goers' team-building training. In all there were tech people from 64 SUNY campuses. Some of the SUNY tech fields there at the conference were from the computing office; others were in telecommuting and education technology. SUNY also held a Technology Conference here last year.
"The committee that I work on looks for professional development opportunities," said Dave Powalyk, a SUNY system administrator and event organizer. "This highlighted team building and other skills."
Kevin Stillman, of SUNY’s system administration, hands over a bike he helped build to kindergartner Isaiah Anderson Wednesday at the Lake Placid Conference Center.
(Photo — Matthew Turner)
Kevin Stillman, of SUNY's system administration, was the first to bring out his bike, which was given to kindergartner Isaiah Anderson. Anderson excitedly ran up to the bike. Other children were shy and did not want to collect the bikes, so their parents did it for them.
On June 17, teams were formed and tasked with assembling three children's bicycles in the Conference Center's ballroom. The teams were also required to use their know-how to answer questions and complete challenges on an iPad to earn bike parts. They were timed, and the first team to finish building all their bikes won. Around 100 to 200 people were competing in the Great Bike Build.
According to Powalyk, the Bike Build was meant to train the participants problem-solving skills, trust, planning, goal setting and communication skills.
"Also multi-tasking," Powalyk said. "For example, not everyone is going to put the pedal on. We're accomplishing multiple tasks at once."
John McCune of SUNY Fredonia was part of the team that took first place.
"We had 11 people on our team," McCune said. "It was neat because it was composed of all kinds of people: people who have built bikes before and others like me who haven't."
McCune was the team's "multi-media team leader." He mostly used the iPad to research and solve questions.
"I didn't do much handiwork," he said. "We also decorated and customized the bikes as well."
After the bikes were assembled, a bike mechanic inspected each one. Each bicycle also came with a helmet and a lock for safety and security.
On June 18, it was time for the bikes to be given away.
"Now we have the opportunity to give back to the community," Powalyk said.
The conference attendees lined up in the center of the room, many with cameras, waiting for the Lake Placid students to arrive. Behind a curtain were 30 team members waiting to bring the bikes out once the students were in place. The children were ages 5 to 7.
After all the bikes were handed over, the students and parents all said one big, synchronized "thank you." Then the members of the conference responded, shouting back, "You're welcome."