Frequently Asked Questions around Better Future Project’s Summer Programs
What are the dates of the programs?
Climate Summer is from early to mid June to early to mid August, final dates to be announced soon.
Do I need my own bicycle?
Yes, you are expected to provide your own bicycle. If you do not already have a bicycle capable of efficiently traveling up to 1000 miles carrying gear and are financially unable to purchase one, please let us know and if you are accepted and commit to the program, we will make sure that an appropriate bicycle for the program and your physical frame is available for you to borrow for the summer. If you do borrow a bicycle, we request (but do not require) a $75 donation to cover tuning and parts for the bicycle that you will ride.
What other equipment, besides a bicycle, do I need?
Check out last year’s packing list. An updated list will be provided to this year’s riders, but this should give you a good sense of what you might need. On March 1st, we will post updated packing lists for both programs (which will differ slightly).
Does it cost money to participate in a BFP Summer Program?
No, there are no direct fees associated with participating, and food and housing is covered. Riders are asked to provide their own bicycles, and also need to transport themselves to and from the starting and ending locations. We do also encourage riders to fundraise to help support the program.
Will I be required to fund raise if I participate?
While fundraising is not required, it is strongly encouraged. We hope that you will see that our work is worth funding, and we will encourage you to approach family and friends for small donations so you can help us build out a stronger funding base. We have found that past riders who have put in the effort have been able to raise between $500-$1,000. And don’t worry, we’ll be with you to support you in this work!
Do you have financial assistance available?
Yes! But in limited quantities. If you need assistance and are admitted, we will do our best to either provide or work with you to get the funding you require. But due to limitations, we ask only those with sincere need to apply.
While we have no formal requirements, the following are strongly recommended:
- A strong commitment to a better future free from fossil fuels;
- Willingness to talk to many different people to both learn from them and share your message;
- An understanding of the importance of movement-building;
- Ability to travel by bicycle; and
- Ability to work closely with a team for the summer.
A formal training in organizing skills, media, relationship-building, bike safety and maintenance, and other skills will take place at the beginning of both programs.
What is an average day like? An average week?
This is a frequent question, and hard to gauge. Some days are riding days, where you’ll spend several hours biking 30-40 miles from one town to another. Most days involve you working with one or more local partners, helping build a community garden, interviewing a green local business leader, getting interviewed by the press, taking a “toxic tour” of an environmental justice community, meeting with local government officials, etc.
Where do we sleep at night? And what do we eat?
Food and housing are provided by the program. Most nights, you will sleep in houses of worship or other community centers. Occasionally, you may sleep in the home of a community partner. Each team has a food budget that allows them to cook their own food for their meals, though many community partners will also donate food to the teams or host potlucks for/with them.
Do I need to be an experienced cyclist?
For the Climate Summer program, riders of all levels are welcome, and while advance preparation is recommended, it is by no means required..
Can I receive internship credit at my school for this?
Policies vary by school, but we are happy to work with you if your school allows you to get internship credit. Some schools even provide funding for unpaid internships- check to see what your university’s policies are.
How is Climate Summer different from Ride for the Future?
There are several differences between the two programs:
Climate Summer takes place in New England (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, and VT), while Ride for the Future takes place in the Gulf Coast (LA and TX).
Related to the geography, Climate Summer takes place in a region where political leaders have shown a great likelihood to accept and act upon the validity of the climate science, whereas Ride for the Future takes place in an area where the Petro-Chemical Industry is a powerful political force.
While both programs will highlight the work of those building a better future and the harms of the existing dirty energy system, Ride for the Future will highlight many more of the harms along the Gulf Coast, and visit ExxonMobil’s headquarters, while Climate Summer will spend most of its time highlighting the benefits of the transition away from fossil fuels, and less time drawing attention to its immediate effects to communities in the area.
How is this different from other internships?
This is not a traditional internship. This is a leadership development program that is also designed to support and enhance the work already underway in communities. You will have a basic job description and responsibilities. Staff will provide training and ongoing support and coaching, but we will not dictate tasks. Rather you will be working with a team of peers to develop a team agenda to work with community leaders, setting the team’s schedule, organizing events, conducting volunteer work and other activities and meetings at the team’s discretion. Staff will support your work with contacts for community partners and some pre-scheduled events and meetings, but what you accomplish during this program is up to you and your team.