Aidan Charles, the Founder and Executive Director of the CCAP, has built a life and career around the sport of cycling. Fortunate to discover cycling at the young age of 14, he found passion, success and discipline in pursuit of the sport. As a result of hard work and perseverance, Aidan raced throughout the country and internationally as a junior and a professional cyclist. He went on to study at Mary Washington University, where he earned a B.S. in Biology with concentrations in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. Upon graduation, Aidan founded Charles Coaching and Nutrition Services (CCNS), where he has been helping endurance athletes achieve their goals since 2006. Aidan’s dream is to see youth and the sport of cycling thrive in the United States, starting with Connecticut and creating a model to share with the rest of the country.
- Aidan, did you always know that you wanted to serve others and help today’s youth?
No. Not initially. Helping our youth wasn’t my end goal. However, it did eventually become a way of giving back. One day a father asked me to coach his son. I found out that I really enjoyed coaching young kids and didn’t even ask the father for any money. But he insisted on paying me for the great results that he had seen with his boy. So that’s how my helping our youth just all fell into place. And the fact that it has turned out to be a way to make a living has turned out to be a pleasant and positive consequence of it.
- Can you walk us through how you first got started in your career path?
Somebody helped and encouraged me when I was a kid. So I returned the favor and ended up getting paid to do it. From that point forward I declared myself a cycling coach and it has all just fell into place from there.
- How did you handle the bumps in the road? Were there any moments when you wondered if all your hard work was worth it?
Sure. There are always times when you wonder if it is worth it. However, everything about cycling goes back to living a life of persevering and enduring the pain. Cycling forces you to build a tolerance to hardship. Hard work gets you past the bumps.
- I’m wondering if you can help us understand what you attribute your success to.
It’s like I said above, everything about cycling is about hard work. And hard work pays off in cycling and in business.
- What do teens need today more than anything else?
Access and exposure to different opportunities.
- Aidan, what would you tell a teen who was struggling?
Well, it depends on what they are struggling with. However, generally speaking I would tell them to break their problem down in a task orientated way. Figure out what steps to take to solve it. And most importantly, figure out your next step. Sometimes that is all you have to do, just figure out your next step.
- What else do you want to tell us about what you do and what you want to eventually be doing?
I want to lead the movement in Connecticut to help a lot more kids get on bikes and compete in cycling. I want to elevate the sport here in Connecticut. Hey, it’s just a natural fit. Every kids loves to ride a bike fast.
- Can you please share with all of us something else that I should have asked you?
I think you’ve covered it. Thanks, Dan.
- How can people get in touch with you if they have additional questions?
Thanks for your time Aidan and keep up the good work! Our youth needs more people like you!
Author and Speaker of the Granddaddy’s Secrets teen leadership book series.
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