Bikes for the World bike collections fit within a common category of Eagle project service activity ("collection drives to benefit charity"). However, no two collections are alike, and the character and degree of success will depend on the individual Scout’s initiative, energy, and personality. This project involves organizing, planning, and advertising the event. The Eagle candidate will also recruit, train, and manage volunteers before and during the collection. For more information on what a collection entails see our Collection Guide page.
"Wow...that's really all I can say. In my opinion, the drive went phenomenally well. I really was scared the morning of...having no idea how many people the news had reached. A lot of people responded though, and we helped 147 people overseas. Plus, I had a lot of fun...the drive was like managing a small business: commanding your workers, filling out receipts, bustling around. It was quite a bit of work, but thankfully everything came through in the end. I think all my volunteers had a great time too. Thanks for your absolutely invaluable help too, it really got me through this Eagle process. You were easily approachable, responded quickly to my emails (which was incredible), and wanted me to succeed (which I certainly did)."
Zachary Holz, Troop 582
The scout must first email a Bikes for the World representative to begin the collection process. The scout will be responsible for writing up the project, obtaining approval, and confirming the date and location with Bikes for the World. The scout should plan to visit our warehouse and, if possible, another community collection before his event. Bikes for the World will provide the truck to remove the bikes at the end of the collection. Contact us to get started or for more information.
Primary beneficiaries of BfW’s program are low-income working adults and students overseas, who receive bicycles at cost from local charities to which BfW donates the bikes. Individual recipients use bikes to get to work, bring their farm produce to market, or get to school. Other beneficiaries learn bike mechanic skills and earn income reconditioning BfW-supplied bicycles. Our bikes are donated 'as is', not repaired locally. This is to provide work for our beneficiary mechanics around the world.
Recycling also benefits local communities, saving money and reducing environmental pressures on over-burdened landfills. Re-using old bicycles serves to remind Americans of the growing range of re-use and recycling opportunities. It also makes us aware of the possibility of bicycles as a legitimate transportation.
The BfW coordinator in your area will generally provide written guidelines and customized guidance; supply specialized tools, receipts, and literature; and arrange for pick-up of collected bicycles.
Leadership and Responsibility
Work for the Scout is divided into two parts of equal importance: (1) pre-event publicity and (2) event-day receipt and compaction of bicycles for shipment. Both parts require the Scout to recruit and supervise a crew of volunteers.
An effective marketing strategy is essential to make people aware of the event and per-suade them to donate a bicycle and $10 per bike to defray shipping costs. A Scout must be convinced of the value of the BfW program, and able to effectively communicate. Publicity materials must be designed, reproduced, and distributed. Ideally, recruited volunteers--other scouts, family friends--would expand the coverage.
On collection day, if adequately informed, the public will bring bicycles and an accompanying cash donation to the site, where the sponsor must provide receipts and BfW literature, and compact the bikes for shipment. An effective event requires the Scout to train, assign responsibilities to, and supervise volunteers; deal with the public; manage funds; and “troubleshoot” problems. The candidate, in consultation with the BfW advisor, should make contingency plans for unanticipated difficulties, e.g., too many bikes or not enough volunteers.
Once you complete your project, the Eagle Scout review board must approve the manner in which it was carried out. Questions the panel may ask include:
- Did you demonstrate leadership of others?
- Were you indeed the project director, rather than doing [all] the work yourself?
- Was the project helpful to the benefited institution [Bikes for the World in this case]?
- Did the project follow the plan? If changes were made, why were they made?