Jason Flinn is gathering bikes to repair and give to homeless youth to earn his Eagle Scout award. Mail Tribune Photo / Jamie Lusch - Jamie Lusch

Wheels of their own

If you have an old bike or skateboard cluttering your garage, you might be able to help Jason Flinn become an Eagle Scout.

The Medford Scout is collecting bikes and 'boards that have seen better days to put them back in shape for young people who don't have wheels of their own.

Flinn's original plan was to donate the bikes to Community Works, which would distribute them to homeless teens and young adults who visited the organization's Drop In Center. Community Works' plan to consolidate that service with the Maslow Project at Kids' Unlimited means the bikes will go to Kids Unlimited.

"We'll be more than happy to have them," said Mary Ferrell, director of the Maslow Project, which provides assistance for homeless teens.

"We see over 150 kids a month and none of them have their own transportation," Ferrell said.

The Maslow Project took its name from Abraham Maslow, who proposed the "hierarchy of needs" theory. Maslow believed basic needs such as food and shelter must be met before individuals can move toward satisfying higher goals.

Flinn said the idea for his Eagle project came to him when he realized that some kids lack the mobility that bikes and skateboards provide for most teens.

"I decided that if I were homeless, I would probably want an easy way of getting around," said the 16-year-old junior at North Medford High School.

The Eagle award is Scouting's highest honor, and to earn it Scouts must demonstrate the leadership and organizing skills that they learn during their years in Scouting, said Dave DeCarlow, Scoutmaster for Flinn's Troop 7.

Eagle candidates typically recruit other volunteers to help complete a community service project. DeCarlow said Eagle projects usually involve at least 150 to 200 hours of service, which can include the time spent by the Scout and other volunteers.

Of all the boys who join the Boy Scouts across the country, only 3 to 5 percent eventually become Eagle Scouts, DeCarlow said.

Flinn has been collecting bikes, and he's organized a work party in late June when he and several other Scouts will repair the bikes and 'boards with help from Leon Clay, a Medford physical therapist and avid cyclist.

"I ride my bike a lot and I work on them myself," Clay said. "I think it's a worthy project."

Flinn hopes to refurbish at least 25 bikes and 10 skateboards during the work party. He's looking for structurally sound bikes and 'boards in reasonably sound condition — bikes that have straight frames and functioning gears, but might need a new tire or an inner tube, a few spokes, a new seat or a pedal; and boards that might need a new set of wheels.

"We're trying to keep the repairs to minor things," he said. He's also seeking cash contributions for parts and materials.

Flinn has been involved in Scouting since the second grade, when he joined the Cub Scouts. A member of the National Honor Society, he plans to pursue a law or business degree in college.

To contact Jason Flinn, call 776-2106, or e-mail

Reach reporter Bill Kettler at 776-4492 or

Share This Story