Bikes for the World

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Featured Volunteers: We Honor Our Troops

Conor Mears troop 159
Ben O'Brien              Troop     170              100 Bikes
Joseph Gerard         
Troop       68               30  Bikes
Sean Clark                
Troop   1131               35  Bikes
Liam Brennan           
Troop   1352               76  Bikes
Conor Mears            
Troop     159               87  Bikes
John Finn                 
  Troop     472               70  Bikes
Patrick Franz             
Troop     945             151  Bikes
 
Bikes for the World relies on hundreds of collection managers a year to organize bike collections in their neighborhoods. These individuals recruit and train volunteers, seek out potential donors by advertising the event, and organize and manage the collection itself. BfW would like recognize the above list of seven scouts who organized and managed events for us in 2013 by completing their Eagle projects with BfW. Between them, these young men collected 549 bikes for individuals overseas who will use them to stay in school, generate more income for their families, or to run errands for the household.

John Finn troop 472
 The Eagle Project is one of the most important steps for scouts striving for the highest attainable rank in the Boy Scouts of America. There are over 2.3 million Eagle Scouts and they range from actors, astronauts, inventors, even President of the United States. They are reliable friends, husbands, fathers, and most importantly role models.

Eagle scouts are trained to survive under extreme conditions. They are skilled in cooking, life saving preparedness, and first aid. They have made significant contributions to their communities and are trained to lead and manage.

Eagle projects range from collecting books for schools, to building park benches, or refurbishing historic cemeteries. 
Conor Mears demonstrates how to compact a bike
At Bikes for the World, scouts complete their Eagle projects by organizing and running bikes collections for us. Scouts are responsible for managing a dynamic, unpredictable public event, publicity, and training and overseeing a volunteer workforce.

Many scouts cite time as the biggest obstacle in completing the project. They are often juggling school, activities, and other personal commitments while planning and organizing this event. Reaching out to reporters and recruiting volunteers have also been struggles for some scouts.

John Finn with donor Kyrksten
But mostly, scouts love working with Bikes for the World. We provide a service project in line with the guidelines laid out in the Eagle Scout project workbook. With a little bit work it's quite easy to hold a successful bike collection and the volunteer work breaking down bikes is a lot of fun.

Kyrksten (left) came out with his mom during a collection at St. Mary's in Rockville. She wanted him to be part of this Eagle project to hopefully inspire him to follow in John's footsteps. John took the time to work with Kyrksten personally as he helped prepare his own bike for shipping and even loaded it onto Nick's pickup.

John came to us after working as a volunteer for another Eagle project. He enjoyed it so much when it came time for his project he also picked BfW.
"Those bikes will go to people who will use them more than we do in their every day lives, like for school or work. I feel like I am making a difference to less fortunate people who deserve it," John Finn BSA troop 472.
Patrick Franz troop 945
 Becoming an Eagle Scout is often impressed on the next generation. To the right is a photo of three generations of Eagle Scouts (or soon to be). Far right is Patrick Franz of troop 945 with his dad (far left) and his grandfather in the middle.

Patrick completed his Eagle project with Bikes for the World in November 2013. With the help of All American Bicycle Center in Damascus, who helped reach donors via social media, Patrick collected over 150 bikes in one day.

Patrick actually started planning this collection last summer, but as mentioned earlier, struggled with time restraints. He decided to postpone an earlier scheduled collection to make sure he had time to devote to doing it right. And did he ever, collecting more bikes than almost all of our collections last year. Only Otterbein United Methodist in Hagerstown collected more and they've been doing this for more than a decade.

Eagle Scout Senthil Kannan troop 1983
Bikes for the World has worked with 63 scouts over the years working on their Eagle projects. Several of them have even done multiple collections with us.

Senthil Kannan of troop 1983 did a collection for us at REI in the fall of 2012. He was awarded the Eagle rank in 2013. Members of his troop have joined us individually to help us load bikes at our warehouse in 2013. Working with BfW is a bit infectious. It's part fun and part being able to reach across the globe and make an impact you can really see.

We at BfW are very proud to work with these young men and continue to be impressed with their success. Over the years our Eagle projects have brought in over 5,500 bikes and earned $45,000 in donations. These guys are making a huge impact in our program and an even bigger impact in the lives of people they've never met.

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