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Anderson wins unicycling mentorship award

Paulette Anderson and Tanya O'Brien unicycle together before a unicycling class begins on Thursday, Nov. 16, in the St. Croix Central Elementary School gym. Anderson recently won an award for mentorship from the Twin Cities Unicycle Club.1 / 2
Paulette Anderson works with unicyling students. Pictured (from left) are Ella Ristow, Lisa Ristow, Lucy Jensen and Paulette Anderson. The unicycling class meets every Thursday evening.2 / 2

When Paulette Anderson brought unicycling students to the annual Twin Cities Unicycle Club (TCUC) banquet in New Brighton, Minn., she had no idea what awaited her.

Anderson was presented with the TCUC 2012 Mentor Award at the banquet.

"I was shocked when I got it," Anderson said.

Anderson helps teach kids to unicycle through a community education class that meets every Thursday at St. Croix Central Elementary School.

"I love teaching kids to unicycle," Anderson said.

The class began with unicylclist Tanya O'Brien, who started the class in Roberts because she wanted to share her love of unicycling with others. O'Brien has since moved to Glenwood City, but she said Anderson keeps the class going.

"Paulette truly is the key person in Roberts," O'Brien said. "She has been there every step of the way, always promoting unicycling and, it wouldn't be as popular without our fabulous and dedicated community education coordinator Paulette."

Anderson helps teach new unicyclists every Thursday evening starting at about 5 p.m. in one of St. Croix Central Elementary School's gyms.

In addition to helping kids learn to unicycle, Anderson takes students from the unicycle classes to events like parades.

"It's very special," Anderson said. "They're nervous at first, the first parade they're ever in."

Anderson said she enjoys unicycling, though she doesn't get much time to practice these days.

But, Anderson said, what she enjoys most is seeing the way unicycling can give confidence to kids who need it. She said learning to ride a unicycle can be difficult, because new unicyclists fall down a lot. But if kids learn to pick themselves up and try again, it can be very good for them.

"You've just got to keep challenging them," Anderson said. "Then it's empowering, because then they're better."

Anderson said new unicyclists will start unicycling using the walls for balance. Then, when they venture away from the wall, will start balancing.

"It is so fun watching them when they learn how," Anderson said, "when they get it."

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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