An enthusiastic and motivated volunteer may also turn out to be a good student.  Is there time for volunteer training on a mechanical level either on an individual or small group basis? 

While correcting someone in front of the group is in poor form, it is important to disseminate safe and accurate information to other visitors and volunteers by finding a gentle way to step in and amend, if necessary.  Otherwise, taking the volunteer aside for a private one-on-one/lesson would not be out of line.

I think it's really important to stress that it's ok for volunteers to say "i don't know" and ask another mechanic or find other resources and learn alongside the visitor.

Good luck!


Collective Member
FM Community Bicycle Workshop

On Tue, May 12, 2009 at 11:10 PM, <> wrote:
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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