National Youth Project Using Minibikes (NYPUM) began in 1969 as an innovative way to engage youth and promote positive youth development. American Honda Motor Co., Inc. recognized that some children were not interested in traditional sports and didn't respond to other types of youth services, but the lure of the outdoors and the chance to experience riding off-road motorcycles was very exciting. Integral to NYPUM's design is an essential mentoring component that guides and supports youth to make good decisions, all centered on exciting and challenging activities.
NYPUM combines the incentive of riding minibikes for youth between the ages of 10 and 17, and the love of the outdoors with the support that comes with the relationships that develop among participants and their mentors. Since its inception, NYPUM has proven to be highly effective at helping youth; whether at-risk or not, youth that have challenges with their behavior or academic performance can be positively affected by a NYPUM experience. In more recent years, NYPUM has demonstrated that it is also valuable as a prevention program to motivate youth to make positive choices. This versatility makes NYPUM adaptable to almost any youth development issue.
We take mentoring for a ride.
The world of youth programming is boundless and substantial in its offerings; which also makes the case for its value and impact ambiguous at times. Many types of programming are too specific to effectively address the needs of kids, and others are to general; thus, the potential explanation for why there are so many types of programming in support of positive youth development.
NYPUM leverages that same uncertainty to its benefit by being “adaptive programming”. It would be difficult to find, and then compare other youth programming to what NYPUM’s impact remains to the “whole youth” for the last 48 years. In our own comparisons with different types of programming that seeks to reach the same outcome; such as hiking or archery, NYPUM has consistently proven to affect the youth’s social, emotional and psychological development positively and all in one place.
The idea that NYPUM is adaptive programming means that it is something that can be adjusted for impacting different outcome expectations. While the core idea is to put kids together with a caring adult, a trail bike, and learn how to care for and safely ride in the outdoors; the purpose is to allow them to build self-esteem and self-discipline. They also discover that they can work together with others and often display leadership. The process of NYPUM programming creates that all at once.