[TheThinkTank] getting and keeping kids in the shop

veganboyjosh at gmail.com veganboyjosh at gmail.com
Fri Oct 26 12:41:11 PDT 2007

at Community Cycles in boulder, we're trying to nail down a formula for the
kid's program(s) that works well with our facilitators, as well as our kids.
we want to be flexible enough to address different learning styles,
experience levels, languages, etc. we're getting better at this, as we gain
experience with planning, execution, etc.

one issue we were facing a while ago is that kids would join the Earn-a-bike
program just for the bike. they had no interest in helping around the shop,
contributing to the community of the place, etc. once they got their bike,
and finished their hourwise commitment to the program, they were gone. we'd
never see them again. there were some kids who we felt really got it, with
regards to the bike culture/attitude we were trying to foster in our shop,
our neighborhood, etc. those kids we miss the most, since they have so much
potential to keep on giving, teaching other kids, staying on a bike when all
the other kids are starting to drive, etc...

anyway, we seem to have done something right. now we have kids who are done
with their hours at the EAB program, and want to hang out in the shop. we're
loathe to send them away, but what to do with them? some have brought some
friends, so we've tried getting them to mentor their friend, and strip
bikes, etc...we'd like to do more, and are struggling to come up with things
for the more experienced/motivated kids to do while we focus on those not so

the time we have set aside for kids night is kids and parents only, so it's
not like we have to take time away from grownups--who, strangely, often have
less patience when their question won't be answered until the kids' issue is
sorted out. We'd still like to give the kids what they want, and keep our

any ideas? anyone else facing similar problems? what did/do you do? i heard
someone from our shop say they talked to a bunch of people at bikebike! and
no one else had a model close to ours, so i'm not sure if we're the only
ones dealing with this or not...

thanks, and have a great weekend everyone!

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