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How We Lead (and Learn!)

As a non-profit, pedal and people powered organization, we value community and relationships above all else. We take pride in partnering with other organizations, schools, groups, neighborhood alliances, and businesses in the community...because it truly takes a village. We can all do more, whenever we do it together. We firmly believe this, and run our organization based on this mindset.

It's no secret that many companies and organizations follow a "top down" model...where decisions are made by members of the leadership team, with little to no input from the folks doing the work on the ground (or in our case, on the trails...or in the bike shop!). While that model of business operation might work for some, it doesn't work for us. And we don't want it to.

Trips for Kids Charlotte is a whole team operation. Without our mechanics, we wouldn't be able to refurbish bikes to offer back out into the community, diverting thousands of pounds of bike material waste in the process. Without our ride leaders, we wouldn't be able to consistently facilitate free youth bike programming on MTB trails and greenways, engaging Charlotte's youth with the joys of riding a bike. Every single member of our team is truly seen as an MVP, and we value the people doing the day to day work within our organization for just that...people. Really rad people who are passionate about making a difference in our community...but just everyday humans, nonetheless. No one on our leadership team expects our staff members to do something that they wouldn't themselves do. Our Executive Director, Eric Supil, demonstrates this on a regular basis. Loading and unloading dozens of bikes to transport to our youth ride programs? Eric's on it. Refurbishing bikes for our Earn-a-Bike program graduates? Eric already built them last week.

Pictured: Tabia Lewis, Re-Cyclery mechanic, helping lead our monthly Bike Break Down volunteer and education event at the Charlotte Innovation Barn (March 2023).

All of our staff members are invited (and encouraged!) to attend and participate in our quarterly board meetings. We hold monthly team-wide "meetings" (though, they can be oftentimes be considered more as group conversations): where we share a meal together, set group goals, talk about our workplace culture and our role in changing the overall cycling culture in Charlotte, discuss how we can continue to best serve our community, and identify areas of support the team needs to achieve those goals. Most often, our staff meetings begin with a personal check in, if folks are willing and comfortable to share what's going on for them in their lives outside of work. Every voice is heard, valued, and appreciated. This is important to us.

Pictured: Trips for Kids and Charlotte Re-Cyclery staff members participating during our quarterly board meeting (February 2023).

We know this isn't something that happens often within organizations, and so we'd like to take the opportunity to share with our community just how involved our entire team is...from our board members, to our directors and mechanics.

If you pop into the Charlotte Re-Cyclery on any given Saturday, you'd likely find Peter Campbell, Board President, assisting the shop crew by building up bikes. And if you don't see Executive Director Eric Supil there, helping with bike maintenance and customer service, chances are it's because he's in the field, helping support our youth and community programs, events, and workshops.

Pictured: Board President, Peter Campbell, refurbishing a bike, along with TFKC Executive Director, Eric Supil, who was helping with shop organization and customer service at the Charlotte Re-Cyclery on Saturday, March 11, 2023.

Longtime volunteer and board member, Dick Winters, spends most Saturdays (and sometimes Sundays) driving around the TFKC truck, picking up donated and discarded bikes around the city (or picking up pressure washers for our new space, visiting area recycling + composting centers for drops-offs, or doing 100 other things to support our organization...we're not event sure at this point, because Dick just gets it done without us needing to think about it!).

Pictured: Board member Dick Winters, leading a Learn to Ride training to members of Charlotte-Mecklenburg's Therapeutic and Inclusive Recreation team.

Matt Packey has been hitting the trails on Saturdays to support our Youth Ride program for over 10 years...long before he joined the team as a TFKC board member.

Bethanie Johnson, board member and Executive Director of CLT Bike Camp, is behind the scenes, making screenprinted shirts for our partnership summer camps, helping organize and sort through the logistics that come with our community outreach initiatives.

Our Re-Cyclery shop manager, Brandon Grant, works on Saturdays, ensuring that the staff are supported on one of our busiest days of the week. Tabia Lewis, a Re-Cyclery mechanic, supports our monthly Bike Break Down events at the Charlotte Innovation Barn. Ben Malmquist, longtime volunteer and board member, established the curriculum for and teaches our monthly BAR (Bicycle Assembly and Repair) intensive 2 day course offered to the public and to future volunteers, on everything from triaging a bike to building one from the frame up.

Pictured: Board member, Ben Malmquist, teaching the Charlotte Re-Cyclery's monthly BAR (Bicycle Assembly and Repair) Course.

We could go on on and on, but we're sure you get the picture. Each member of our staff and board team has a different "why" for doing the work we do...but the point is, we all do it together. We all share the same mission: to continue to create and foster a special little hub of bike access, education, and experiences within Charlotte, removing barriers so that more kids, families, and community members can get on bikes.

We might be biased on this, but we think our team is the absolute best. If you're interested in supporting our mission and joining our team as a volunteer (either in the Charlotte Re-Cyclery, our community bike shop program, or through our Youth Ride programs, events and community offerings), shoot an email to: ....we'd love to connect and do this work together with you.

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