We’re continuing our series of service-learning with Camp Fire middle school youth. During these projects, students work together with their community to identify social problems as well as creative solutions.

ChavezBikeRideAt the Cesar Chavez School in North Portland, Camp Fire students ranging from grades six through eight, worked in partnership with the city of Portland’s Safe Routes to School Program and the Community Cycling Center (CCC) for their Bike Club earlier this year. The CCC is a Portland area nonprofit organization that broadens access to bicycling and communicates the benefits of bicycling, ultimately building a vibrant community in which people of all backgrounds use bikes to stay healthy and connected.

For four weeks CCC provided the students curriculum covering how to: safely ride bikes in the community, map a ride on designated bike routes, properly lock-up a bike, and fix a flat tire. As students learned more about bikes and safety, they were able to earn their own bikes, tools, helmets, water bottles and locks! Staff at CCC also let the students use tools or a bike pump for anyone needing a quick fix before getting on the streets to ride.

After Bike Club wrapped up, the students decided to set up a Community Bike Ride Fundraiser to benefit Bradley Angle for their end of year service-learning project. Bradley Angle is a local nonprofit organization that offers survivors of domestic violence options for safety, empowerment, healing, and hope. They also aid single parents experiencing poverty.

In the lead-up to the event, Camp Fire students spent weeks handing out flyers around their local neighborhoods to bring attention to their Community Bike Ride.

On the day of the event, before embarking on the group ride, the middle schoolers used the knowledge they gained through Bike Club to lead the riders through a safety check. They covered personal and mechanical safety checks, as well as the proper use of hand signals to lead community members through the neighborhood.

Check out this video clip of the Camp Fire youth leading the pre-ride safety check with community members.



The bicyclists’ first stop on the ride was The Hub. While there, they listened to a representative of CCC talk about what they offer to the community at their local bike repair location.

ChavezBikeRide4After the presentation, the Camp Fire youth and community members hopped back onto their bikes and continued on to Columbia Park to ride through for some time before returning to the school. As a result of their participation, students developed leadership skills, learned more about resources in their community, and gained additional experience in safely riding a bicycle.

The students earned high praise from Camp Fire staff. “I’m so impressed with the students’ desire to engage their community members in safe bike riding habits prior to the ride,” said Emily Sterling, Middle School Program Director. “They went door to door weeks before the event to invite neighbors and received lots of positive feedback about the event and even some donations!”

Drake Carnahan, Camp Fire Site Instructor at Chavez, shared her view of the project, “Working with the Community Cycling Center (CCC) was an awesome experience for our students.” She pointed out the important stepping-stones for the students as they learned the fundamentals of safe bicycling and bike maintenance. “Not only were the students able to show off their knowledge to community members at the Community Bike Ride, they were also able to see how their hard work with the preparations of the event, such as creating signs and the details discussed in class, really came together and paid off. The students definitely enjoyed themselves and were proud to have raised $84.00 for Bradley Angle.”

Great job Chavez Camp Fire youth!

Check out more photos from the Chavez Community Bike Ride on our Facebook page here.