We have a set of curricula that I have developed that we use for both training new volunteers and hosting workshops to the public: https://docs.google.com/a/communitycycles.org/document/d/1FN0MHz1JshRDgG-vTpXwgPjTY9k7HI_hLXj8P0F7IlM/edit

This was mostly developed by me, so it is not as robust or validated as the Park Tool School or Barnett's, but it serves us well.  Bikes not Bombs also has a pretty good curriculum but for their particular program.

It is not unfair to ask for monetary compensation or a volunteer requirement.  We typically ask that volunteers commit to 3 hours per week, but have not currently turned anyone away from the classes.  People wanting to learn bike mechanics are the low-hanging fruit for recruitment, so it makes sense to build their skills.

Lessons to be learned:
  • training does not make master mechanics out of novices overnight
  • "advanced mechanics" who have worked from their home do not necessarily know the proper tools/techniques for doing mechanics

Brett Schager
Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator
Community Cycles

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On Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 10:26 AM, Dan Hock <dan@bikerecycle.localmotion.org> wrote:
Hello All,

I work at Bike Recycle Vermont in Burlington,(you guessed it) Vermont.  Our shop structure is all volunteer with the exception of myself.  Our program, in short, accepts donated bikes and, with volunteer help, refurbishes them so that they can be sold exclusively to low-income Vermonters.  Personally, I have been struggling with training unskilled volunteers that are new to our program.  I have many great people coming through the door with great intentions, but limited mechanical aptitude.  Our volunteer retention is down because new folks tend to feel helpless and frustrated.  In an effort to address this,  I am going to start offering structured mechanics training to new volunteers.  I am coming to the list with a few questions:

  • Are there other programs out there that require unskilled volunteers interested in volunteering as mechanics to go through mechanics trainings?  If so, shed light on what structure you are using?
  • If we are investing over 10 hours in each prospective volunteer,  is it reasonable to charge participants or ask them to commit a set amount of hours to our program in exchange for the class?  If so, how much is fair in either time or money?
  • Does anyone have any curriculum and/or course materials (diagrams, glossaries, etc) for participants that they would be willing to share?
  • Are there any lessons to be learned/advice to be given to someone in my position.
Thanks in advance for your time!

Dan Hock
Bike Recycle Vermont Program Manager
w. 802.264.9687
Bike Recycle Vermont
664 Riverside Ave. Burlington

Learn to ride a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.
                                                                           ~Mark Twain

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