Birkie One’s mission is to reduce barriers and increase participation in skiing, running, and biking for marginalized groups in communities near and far. It is the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation’s approach to Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusivity (DEAI) initiatives.
Support Birkie One Partners
Brooke Dorman DeFoe is heading to the 2023 Indigenous Games
Brooke is heading to the 2023 Indigenous Games! As part of the Birkie One initiative, we are trying to support her in raising $5,000 to help with the expenses to attend the competition. Brooke will be competing in discus, 100 & 200-meter track competitions. Funds will support her and her family with the costs of travel to Nova Scotia, Canada.
Competitors will be coming from Native American tribes from all over the United States and Canada to compete in the Indigenous Games. Brooke will be a part of Team Wisconsin. Brooke loves being an athlete. Over the past three years, she ran on her school cross-country team, competed on the track team, and is currently playing softball. In notable accomplishments, she stood on the podium for a middle school discus competition. Brooke currently holds a 3.4 GPA and was acknowledged as Student of the Month at her school.
Colorado Springs Trail Running Camp for Kids: a collaboration with Joseph Gray’s Project Inspire Diversity
We are thrilled to announce our collaboration with Joseph Gray, the founder of Project Inspire Diversity. Gray is a world-renowned trail runner & 2021 Birkie Trail Run USATF 1/2 marathon champion with a goal to provide a safe place for kids to learn how to run on trails, build confidence, and help develop the strength that is within – a vision that is right in line with our Birkie One initiative.
In August, Gray will be hosting a 2.5 day trail running camp for youth in Colorado Springs, CO. A fundraising initiative is underway to support the scholarships for camp registration and travel expenses for youth who plan to attend. Funds will also be used to pay usage fees for trail areas and the pavilion the team and campers will use throughout the week. This year’s camp will take place in Palmer Park and be led by some amazing coaches. Future camps may be in other parks in the Colorado Springs area.
Birkie One Event Initiatives
Weekly Spring Run/Walk- Ziigwan Bimibaatoo Run Series
The weekly spring run/walk series will begin on Wednesday, April 26th will happen weekly every Wednesday for six weeks. It is open to anyone, but our focus is getting all the kids and their families there to participate. All events will be held on the Zhooshomemiikaanis Ski/Hike Trail; 8575N Round Lake School Rd, Hayward, WI.
They will only be accepting cash payments during the day-of race.
There will be awards, results, and more!
Ski de She – First Ever All-Women Ski Event
On January 27-29, 2023 the Birkie hosted a ski camp exclusively for women, who came from all skill levels, beginner to advanced. The skiers were able to learn different techniques, depending on their skill level, and gain insights from multiple speakers that came over the weekend. Speakers sharing information from nutrition to waxing and clothing selection. In addition to the ski camp, over 400 women skiers participated in a race during the weekend!
ParaBirkie Joins Forces with Ski for light
The 2023 ParaBirkie, held on the Friday of Birkie week, hosted a record number of adaptive skiers, 29. Participation was bolstered through a new partnership with Ski for Light, Inc., an all-volunteer, non-profit, organization founded in 1975. The mission of Ski for Light is “to teach visually- and mobility-impaired adults the sport of classic cross-country skiing, to give participants who have already mastered the basics the chance to improve their skills and endurance, and to enable participants to just have fun on the snow.”
Maple Syrup Adventures
Ernie St. Germaine is currently running a Maple Syrup making series with the kids in the Akii-gikinoo’amaading Charter School. They hike out to the camp on snowshoes each day to check on the sap and carry the buckets of sap back. This will continue on for the next 4-5 weeks as they go through the entire Maple Syrup process with Ernie.
Birkie One Trail Initiatives
The summer of 2022 was full of trail restoration at the Lac Courte Oreilles College. This trail was established in 1982 and rebuilt in 2022 with the support of Ernie St. Germaine, Birkie Founder and Anishinabeg Indian. The trail was rebuilt with the help of the LCO Ojibwe School, Akii-gikinoo’amaading Charter School, and the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation. Read more about the trail restoration here: Zhooshoomemiikaanis Trail
Students from the Akiigikinoo’amaading Charter School Skiing
The students from the Akii-gikinoo’amaading Charter School were able to get out on the Birkie Trail multiple times during the winter of 2022/23. For some this was their first time ever cross country skiing. Board members, staff, and Ernie St. Germaine helped teach them techniques to get started.
5k Paved Trail Completed at Mt. Telemark Village
During the fall of 2022 the Birkie completed a 5-kilometer paved loop at the Birkie Trailhead. This loop is accessible to individuals who are unable to access unpaved trails due to different abilities. The paved trail can be used by pedestrians, individuals who use a wheelchair, cyclists, and roller skiers. The addition of this trail offers an accessible location for outdoor enthusiasts of all abilities to recreate and enjoy the Northwoods.
All-Terrain Wheelchair Coming to Mt. Telemark Village
We are excited to announce that we are in the application process with Access Ability Wisconsin to have an All-Terrain Wheelchair at Mt. Telemark Village!
We can’t wait to offer universal access to our trails. We are committed to ensure that anyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors, can be a part of what we are working on at Mt. Telemark Village.
Birkie One Future Events
We will be starting a bike riding day each week with the kids from the Akii-gikinoo’amaading Charter School. We will also be partnering with Dave Schlabowske and his bike packing program. Dave will be providing the kids with gear. By the end of the summer, our hope is to end the program with a 7-10 mile bike ride, camping overnight, and then riding home . Dave and Ernie are working closely on this curriculum.
Para Athlete Camp
This year at Mt. Telemark Village we are excited to partner with BethAnn Chamberlain and para development to host a para camp with athletes from around the Midwest at our facilities.