Hello All,
In my experience of teaching classes and having coteachers and endless hours of running open shop, I can say that misinformatin does and will come up in the future.
I find that part of the fun/challenge of being an instructor and witnessing incorrect info is to be very creative in ways to correct the mistake within minutes of it being said.  THis is tricky; as you don't want to come off in all the possible negative ways one can.  It helps to try to put yourself in the brain of the person uttering the misinfo and play off their instruction.  Correcting someone in front of others is generally considered a no-no (especially in the collared world of business), however I think in the setting of a community bike shop where we are all learning constantly, it is ok to explore situations and turn them into more positive learning experiences.  Again, the priceles "people skills" aspect comes into major play.
As for inexperienced but highly enthusiastic volunteers in general, I'd say; Encourage their bikecitement and at the same time invest a little extra time in guiding them. 
I think other folks have given some pretty good suggestions on training and whatnot in this thread, but I'd like to add that its really important to kind of groom these enthusiastic volunteers in their mechanic skills.  Having intelligent excited mechanics helps spread bikecitement.  Granted, some folks are just plain hard to work with and or don't listen, but again it is a challenge and rewarding to have a novice excited individual grow into an expert who is still excited.
Cheers and good luck-


Date: Tue, 12 May 2009 22:10:53 -0600
From: veganboyjosh@gmail.com
To: thethinktank@bikecollectives.org
Subject: [TheThinkTank] how to deal with enthusiastic but wrong volunteer mechanics?

Sorry for dominating the emails, folks. Community Cycles is in all kinds of transition, and we're looking for help.

I don't know all the details right now, so I'll keep this general.

We've been lucky enough to have a volunteer show up who's very motivated and enthusiastic about our mission and our programs. This person has gotten really involved in existing programs and even helped work on and start a new one.
 Recently, this person was asked by another shop visitor a mechanical question, since it was clear that the volunteer was more staff like, and less client. The answer given was very incorrect (one of the details I'm missing is what the quesiton/answer were), but this was witnessed by another very competent experienced mechanic, who was uncomfortable correcting the misstatement in front of the group.
 In another situation, the same volunteer was seen making very basic mistakes when working alone on a bike. From what I understand, the big one was being asked to install cables on a bike, and neglecting to include housing.

We would like to continue having this person as a part of our team, but we also need to make sure the advice and work they do is correct, safe, and appropriate.

One other wrinkle, is that the two incidents were witnessed by two different staff members, both very skilled mechanics.

How to approach the volunteer? Any help or experience you folks have would be greatly appreciated.



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