The Crux Initiative Society started out a few years ago, as a not for profit way to get people of all ages engaged in more outdoor activities.
David and Lolli Gagnon have four children together, and wanted to create a way to give back to the community while sharing their love for the outdoors.
“All I wanted was to use an organization to help people learn in a safe way,” David said, adding that Crux started out by helping people get experienced in mountain biking and trail running.
The initiative brings together trained individuals and coaches that are highly skilled in helping people learn. The Crux Initiative is a not for profit organization that is separate from their business at Higher Ground, but follows their enthusiasm for outdoor education.
“I see it as a sister company for Higher Ground,” David says, adding that the two are very much separate, and any funds brought in through Crux go directly to paying instructors and building the program. “I just want to give back to the community.”
David is certified with the Professional Mountain Bike Instructor’s Association, and trains and certifies the instructors at Crux. The staff Crux hires all have backgrounds or coaching certifications, meaning that they are the best team to train people of all ages.
Crux works with people of all ages, from as young as three years old, through programs at Alexander Park Elementary School, to adults who are looking to get into outdoor sports or brush up on their skills.
The initiative has built small ramps that help children navigate what trail riding would be like on push and pedal bikes, and creates a fun atmosphere for learning. The program at Alexander Park has around 30 kids signed up, who practice once a week to get better at their skills, and is available for children ages three to nine. David says Crux is looking at doing a similar program at Lady Grey Elementary School for older children, ages nine to 14.
One of the best trails for learning in Golden is the Bush Party, up the Mount 7 Forestry Service Road.
The trail was purpose-built to enhance riding skills through features that are easy to handle, but similar to what a rider might experience on mountain trails. The nearly two-kilometre trail was built to help kids hone their mountain biking talents in a safe environment.
After getting involved in the new disc golf course at Keith King Memorial Park, David wants to introduce frisbee golf to the roster of training programs the initiative provides. He also hopes in the future that Crux will be able to work with the Town of Golden to create a skills park that will have enough room for new riders to experience features with enough landing space.
“Having a skills park would be useful, but only if it’s done properly,” David said, explaining that there needs to be enough room for new riders to recover in between tackling slopes and features before moving on to the next ones.
The Crux and Higher Ground operate separately, both bringing useful programs to the community, helping to engage and enrich outdoor enthusiasts. Lolli also runs Golden Active Women, which invites women in the community out to try new activities, and offers discounts on rental items like stand up paddle boards and mountain bikes.
The Gagnon family lives an active lifestyle, and even their youngest is roaming around on his push bike, steering around corners and picking up speed. David says their children were a part of the motivation to get the Crux Initiative started, because they want to see kids of all ages getting active and learning outdoor sports in a safe and educational environment.