Summer camp at Youth Guidance includes a new bike mechanic training program


Churchill Cooke, Bike Walk Indian River County volunteer, is teaching Youth Guidance student, Cheylinne B. how to work on her bike.

Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy has added a bike mechanic training program to its curriculum. The program has been made possible through the collaborative efforts of Bike Walk Indian River County (BWIRC) and Orchid Island Bikes and Kayaks (OIBK). The addition of this program is part of Youth Guidance’s efforts to introduce kids to vocational skills and the trades.

Each child in the program selects their own bicycle to restore out of hundreds of donated bikes at the Bike Walk warehouse. The course goes well beyond routine maintenance such as fixing flats and adjusting brakes. Over a nine-week period, students will completely rebuild and restore their bikes, learning how to do things like: replace wheel bearings, adjust derailleurs, and replace chains. At the end of the program, the children will get to keep their newly restored bike. The goal is to provide hands-on experience that will help youth build

self-confidence and teach them how to use tools. For students who are interested in hands-on mechanical work, the program is intended to provide them with the skills necessary to obtain an entry level job in the community as a professional bike mechanic.

Bike Walk Indian River County is providing experienced volunteer instructors, the curriculum, and access to used bikes and parts. Orchid Island Bikes and Kayaks is providing access to professional bike mechanics, along with the ability to purchase tools and parts at cost. Both collaborating groups already have made donations toward the program.

“The kids at Youth Guidance were great…I love working with them; they are engaged and enjoy learning,” said Hugh Aaron, President, Bike Walk Indian River County. “We believe that having the opportunity to learn the skills to become a bike mechanic could be a life altering experience. Knowing how to work on your own bike is a great skill for everyone.”

In addition to the bike mechanic training program, Youth Guidance plans to add gardening, home economics, carpentry, and boat/auto mechanics within the next year.

“We are seeing a shortage in qualified workers within the trade industry on a local and national level,” said Phil Barnes, Youth Guidance Executive Director. “We want to make sure we give our students the opportunity to explore these careers, which are lucrative and in demand.”

Youth Guidance is dedicated to enriching the lives of Indian River County youth through mentoring relationships that inspire trust, self-esteem, and positive futures. Youth Guidance works with children ages 5-18. Programs are all free and children are provided with a nutritious meal before programs.

Youth Guidance serves children from low-income homes, who without guidance, may remain trapped in a cycle of generational poverty. With direction from our trained staff, mentors and volunteers, these children can experience a path toward a brighter future.

To learn more about Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy, become a mentor, or make a donation, please call 772-492-3933 or visit us at

To learn more about Bike Walk Indian River County, become a volunteer, or make a donation, please call 804-690-9720 or visit

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