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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Introducing Phoenix!

Finally, the long awaited day to unveil the Phoenix has arrived!

Several members from YFS Girls Inc. made their way up to Black Hills Harley Davidson to celebrate with the local media, sponsors, and community members who have all supported their participation in the Helping with Horsepower project.

The girls were so excited to see the bike all polished and on display!

Pictured above are the Girls Inc. members posing with some of the community members who have helped and supported them along the way. From left to right: (front row) Tiff, Hits 102.7, Jessica Broullire, YFS Girls Inc. Child Development Specialist; Girls Inc. members; (back row) Jan Kirch, Zonta Club of the Black Hills member; 
Terry Rymer, BHHD General Manager; Rachel Cole, Helping with Horsepower project facilitator; 
Amy Klock, Zonta Club of the Black Hills member; Mike Maloney, BHHD Social Media Marketer; 
Jeff Kreun, Kreun Kustoms; and Rob Burton.

The girls really portrayed the theme of the Phoenix in the custom design on the seat of the bike. Jeff Kreun took the girls' drawings and created this amazing seat that showcases the head and wings of a Phoenix.

Tim from Sand Scripts did an amazing job adding a special touch to the bike for the girls.Each girl that participated on in the project has her initials etched into the air cleaner cover on the bike along with the project's slogan, "Rebuilding a bike and a stereotype."

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Time for a Little Showing Off

The month of May really flew by! As the school year was coming to an end and YFS Girls Inc. staff and members were preparing for summer programming, the girls got a special chance to show off their project to their friends and family. Although the bike was without sheet metal, the girls were very excited to show off the work they had done up to that point.

After taking time to explain their project to their friends and family that attended the gathering, the girls took made a photographic effort to show that they truly are strong, smart, and bold member of YFS Girls Inc.!

Jeff Kreun also had a big surprise for the girls at their party: He finished the upholstery on the seat of the bike! During the previous week, Jeff had the girls sketch out some designs for the seat using chalk. He was able to use some of their drawings to create an amazing design that really represents "Phoenix" and the girls' ideas!

Needless to say, the girls were all pretty elated about how the seat for "Phoenix" turned out.

Although we've entered the month of June, the assembly of the bike is still wrapping up. We are aiming to have the sheet metal back and on the bike within the next week or so, and then the fun of touring the bike around the Black Hills will begin!

Raffle tickets are currently on sale though! If you're interested, please call 342-4195!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Week 16: Down to the Details

What a busy week! Last week, the girls completed their 16th week of the project! Time has certainly passed by quickly.

During their class session last week, the girls worked on a few different things. Steve, from Black Hills Harley Davidson, stopped down to provide the girls with some assistance while they put on some of the new parts for their bike. The girls worked on getting the new handle grips on, some pieces of the headlights assembled, and several other details.

While the girls took turns working on the bike, the rest were working with Jeff Kreun to help design the details of the seat's upholstery.

Jeff prepared a really exciting project for the girls! He cut out pieces of fabric that would fit the seats on the bike and then let the girls use chalk to sketch designs on them. Eventually, the girls' designs will help Jeff when he produces the final covering for the seats.

There are certainly some very creative and amazing artists in this group of girls!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Week 15: Lighting Up the Bike

One thing the girls have been insistent upon since the beginning of the design process were LED lights for the bike. They wanted this bike to light up and stand out!

To help make the girls' vision become a reality, Swint LED, located in Sturgis S.D, donated a set of their "Fire" lights to really light up the bike. The red and amber lights play off the "Phoenix" theme impeccably well.

Jerry Petersen from Swint LED made the trek all the way from Sturgis S.D. to be at this week's session and help the girls install some of the lights. The LED lights looked fantastic and were incredibly easy for the girls to install! The girls were so happy to have their bike lit up and appreciated all the help from Jerry and Swint LED.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Week 13: Removing the Exhaust and Tires

Back at the Hot Rod Institute, Rob met with the girls again this week to help them remove the old exhaust pipes and the tires. The girls started by numbering off and taking turns removing all the pieces that were holding the exhaust in place.

As you can tell, finally getting the parts off was pretty exciting.

After the girls removed the exhaust from the bike, it was time to move on to the tires. The new tires were being shipped in so they wanted to make sure the bike was prepared for the new parts.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Week 12: Setting Up for the 25th Annual Black Hills Motorcycle Show

This week, the girls helped YFS staff set up a booth to show off their project at the 25th annual Black Hills Motorcycle Show. There are a few reasons why this was an exciting week for the girls: Their project and bike are on display in a public forum. The girls got to help set up the display for their project and and were also able to walk around and check out other bikes and designs. It was a pretty neat experience for them and big reminder that soon, their bike would be finished as well.

While the girls were helping set up the booth space, a professional photographer by the name of Kevin Eilbeck offered to take a snapshot of the girls and their bike.

If having their photo taken by a professional photographer wasn't fun enough, their project also received some media attention the following day. Two local TV stations came to the event to scope out the girls' progress.

Click here to see one of the TV reports on the project!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Week 10: Michael Prugh Makes a Visit

If you've ever dealt with the anticipation one feels when waiting for something exciting, then you probably know how the girls and staff members felt at today's Helping with Horsepower class meeting. Weeks ago, Michael Prugh, a very well-known and respected designer and the owner of Prugh Design, had agreed to help the girls with their project, and today he was making a special trip in to visit with them!

 Prior to this meeting, Michael had received a copy of the girls' original "Phoenix" design. In order to help the girls modify their design so it could be painted and reassembled in the time frame they've been allotted, they would need to reconsider a few of the design elements they had originally discussed. 

Michael talked with the girls about what they were looking for, what their inspiration was, and what their final vision looked like. After he felt that he understood where the girls were coming from, he took some notes to take with him so he could begin working with the painter to come up with the final design. The girls were very excited and semi-anxious to see what their collaborative design would look like. 

After Michael and the girls had finished talking about the design for the motorcycle, Jeff Kreun came in to surprise the girls with an idea he had been working on for their motorcycle's seat. 

The girls were pretty excited to see what Jeff had been cooking up. Although this feather to flame design was just a preliminary example of what the girls could choose to do, it sure did get some conversations going!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Week 8: Time for Some Big Decisions

For the eighth week of this project, the girls were back in the conference room to make some big decisions. This was the first week they would spend picking out parts for their motorcycle. This was an exciting week for the girls! They had spent the last couple week removing parts from the bike and now they were getting the opportunity to pick out the replacement pieces.

Since the third week of the project, the girls had been perusing a couple of books with thousands of different parts. From information gathered from prior conversations with the girls, Amy Klock put together options for the girls to choose from. The girls discussed their options as a group and then, in a blind vote so they would not sway one another, the girls chose their replacement parts one by one.

After the first few rounds of voting, the girls switched their attention to a very special guest, Jeff Kreun. Jeff is the owner of Kreun Kustoms and specializes in upholstery. He had come to surprise the girls by offering his services to them. All the girls were quite excited that they Jeff would be re-doing their motorcycle seats.

Jeff brought different samples of fabric for the girls to see as well as brainstormed with them what they could do to set their seat apart. The ideas began to fly! Jeff sketched some of the girls' ideas out and promised to bring an example of what they had decided to do in the weeks to come.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Week 7: Removing the Fenders and Gas Tank

Last week, the girls had their first chance to get their hands on the bike up at the Hot Rod Institute. This week they were back again, and in great spirits to do more work on the motorcycle! Now that they had a better feel for getting hands-on with the tools and bike, they all seemed quite excited to begin removing some of the sheet metal. The girls took turns working with Rob Burton, Amy Klock, and each other to start removing the fenders and the gas tank.

 Once the girls removed the pieces from the bike, they moved them to a safe place where they could be cleaned up a bit. This  is also the time when more questions began to arise. As the pieces were coming off the bike, several of the girls began asking questions about other parts that were now in their view. Their gears were turning! A few of them even began talking amongst each other about how those parts would look once they were painted and back on the bike. 


As the day began winding down, the girls were pretty excited about what they had accomplished. The bike was starting to look a little less like a shiny motorcycle and a little more like a project to them.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Little More About the Concept Behind "Phoenix"

Pictured about is Raeshawn, a 5th grade Girls Inc. member and the artist behind the original "Phoenix" design. Raeshawn's design had been selected by the other girls participating in the project during a blind vote.

After one the girls were informed that they would be creating designs, Raeshawn's wheels began turning. Below is the story about she came came up with the concept of "Phoenix".


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Week 6: Time for Tear Down!

Probably one of the most anticipated weeks of the project, week 6 marked the first week the girls began the hands-on work of disassembling the motorcycle! The energy was high as all the girls walked into the Hot Rod Institute, the facility where they would be working on the bike. This was also the week the girls found out which design had the most votes. The winning design was called "Phoenix" and the artist was Raeshawn, a 5th grade Girls Inc. member.

Assisting the girls for this part of the project was Rob Burton from Black Hills Harley Davidson."I was excited to meet Rob. We knew that he was going to be helping us and teaching us more about motorcycles," stated Amya (4th grade Girls Inc. member).

After examining the bike up close, Rob and the girls decided that the best idea was to remove the battery and the seat. Several girls were ready to take action right away! Rob helped the girls identify which tools they would need for these steps and the girls were more than happy to sift through the tool box to find what they needed. They were very excited when they found what they were looking for!

After covering the bike up to help protect the sheet metal from dings and scratches, the girls took turns removing screws and bolts. As some of the girls began taking parts off the bike, another group would collect the pieces that had been removed. "We had to take off a LOT of little pieces, " said Alana (5th grade Girls Inc. member). "Some of them were on tight, but I liked having to use my muscles." 

The girls would then bag and label them for safe keeping. By the end of their class session, the girls had successfully removed the seats and the battery, categorized the parts they removed, and prepped the bike for the next class session. Not a bad start for their first week with the motorcycle!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Week 5: On Your Marks, Get Set, VOTE!

After a couple weeks of brainstorming, a lot of coloring sheets, and multiple drafts from each of the girls, it was finally time to have the girls vote on the bike the design they would use as the inspiration for the finished product.

In order to have a fair vote, all the pictures were numbered and hung on the wall for the girls to see. They were able to get up, walk around, and examine all the ideas they had to choose from. Each of the coloring sheets also included a story. The stories were written by the girls to express both the idea of their individual bike designs as well as each of their interpretations of the project itself; they explained how their bike design reflected what the project meant to them. "I liked being able to see all our designs," said Jasmine. "It was exciting to think about what we were going to be doing."

After taking the time to carefully look at all their options, the girls were given a piece of paper to vote on both the design they'd like to pursue as well as the story that they felt best explained their project.  The winner would be announced at the next week's class.

After the girls turned in their voting slips, it was on to the topic of tools!Since the girls were actually going to be wrenching on the bike, they needed to have a basic understanding of what tools they would be using. Amy Klock an adviser to the project, pulled out tools and went over their names and purposes with the girls. They were also instructed on the proper way to handle the tools for safety reasons.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Week 3: Diving Into Design

Three weeks in and it's time to get down to business. Mike Maloney from Black Hills Harley Davidson led this week's class, teaching the girls about motorcycle design basics. Since the girls are going to be providing the inspiration for the motorcycle design, it only made sense that they get a little direction from a professional.

Mike visited with the girls about parts on the bike they'll be able to swap out and customize, color schemes, body styles, and how everything works together to create a full design. Once again, the girls had a lot of questions. "Can it have lights?" "Can it be more than one color?" "Can it have a cup holder?" "How do you know if you should get tall or short handle bars? You don't want your arms to be like this..."

Almost immediately the girls started coming up with some pretty creative ideas. Hoping to capture some of their initial excitement and thoughts, the girls were given coloring sheets to draw out their ideas on.

The girls were able to look through parts books as they colored so they could see some of the options that would be available to them for their own designs. The girls put in a lot of effort on their coloring sheets; accounting for even the smallest of details. "It was cool to color all the different parts," said Vena (4th grade Girls Inc. member). "I wanted my design to look fancy." Some of the girls added notes that clearly described their idea if they didn't feel their coloring job described their concept clearly enough.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Week 1: An Introduction

January 24 was a pretty exciting day at Youth & Family Services' Girls Inc. program. 12 girls, all between the ages of 9 and 11 years old, found out they had been chosen to participate in the Helping with HorsepowerTM Bike Rebuild Program.

Helping with Horsepower™ was founded by Laura Klock, Dave Sietsema, and Erika Cobb of Klock Werks.The Helping With Horsepower™ Bike Rebuild Program is a fun and innovative, 20-week program that utilizes a motorcycle as an effective tool to teach life lessons such as team work, self-confidence, problem solving and self-esteem, through hands on learning and instruction.

As you can imagine, there was a buzz in the room after Rachel Cole, the YFS staff member spearheading the project, explained to the girls what the project was all about. There were a LOT of questions and some pretty excited young ladies, especially when Rachel pulled up a photo of the bike the girls were going to be working on. "This project is going to be pretty cool, " stated Shauntay (4th grade Girls Inc. member), "I never thought this would be something I could do."

The motorcycle the girls are customizing is a 2012 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail that was generously donated by Black Hills Harley Davidson. In a presentation that took place the first week of January, Black Hills Harley Davidson owners and staff members presented YFS with the keys to the bike.