BEND, Ore. - When you and thousands of others race in the U.S. Bank Pole Pedal Paddle, you're raising money for the Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation.
"It's our biggest fundraiser of the year," said Molly Cogswell-Kelley, financial development and events director for MBSEF.
The foundation offers programs for kids and young adults to get involved in outdoor activities. The money raised form the PPP plays an essential role.
"What that allows us to do is subsidize all the race training fees for over 550 youth athletes that we train throughout the year," Cogswell-Kelley said.
Young athletes just like Skyler Kenna, who got started with MBSEF when he was in seventh grade. He trains 500 hours a year with MBSEF.
His training schedule is based on a Norwegian plan. His dream is to one day be on the U.S. Olympic Nordic team.
"I think MBSEF really showed me a different level of skiing, and without them I probably wouldn't be where I am today," Kenna said.
Kenna has been alpine skiing for years, but his MBSEF coach introduced him to Nordic skiing.
Now he is returning the favor and is a coach for MBSEF, teaching kids to mountain bike.
"It's funny, because I'm trying to remember what it was like with my coach when I was little -- and now I'm the coach," Kenna said.
Kenna's next step: Joining the Elite Nordic Team at Alaska Pacific University. He said MBSEF was a huge stepping stone for his athletic career, and for so many kids to come.
"I think that's the most important part of MBSEF, building that fun relationship with outside and getting to enjoy the outdoors," Kenna said.