As the heat rose Monday on the grounds of the Willmar Civic Center, a group of eight boys were busy completing a list of pre-ride checks on motorbikes.
Ranging in age from 12 to their mid-teens, the youth are some of the members of Team 180, a program run by Youth for Christ that uses the bikes to help young people improve their lives.
The program's national sponsors are Honda and the National Youth Project Using Minibikes (NYPUM). Local sponsors are Motor Sports of Willmar and United Way.
Besides having to complete 21 lessons in the program's book to ride the motorbikes, youths must set three weekly goals for themselves with their parents, guardians or other adult in their lives, said Patrick Sebey, who runs the program for YFC.
Examples of goals that members had to keep include attending summer school and keeping their rooms clean.
If they fulfill all their weekly goals, members get to ride for the entire allotted time for that week. If they fail to meet one goal, their ride time is reduced by a third and so on.
Like all NYPUM programs, Team 180 is based on the principle that some children are not interested in traditional sports, but find the experience of riding mini-bikes exciting.