Who knew that a skatepark would be a good training ground for other types of skills?
Skate parks are more than just concrete playgrounds. They are vibrant hubs of learning where valuable life skills, often overlooked, come to life. In the heart of the skate park, individuals of all ages and abilities can discover the art of social cues, the language of non-verbal communication, and the profound act of being kind to oneself.
For two young siblings, facing big challenges, their local skate park has had life-changing impacts. The young people have been regularly attending the skate park as an outlet with the hope of developing their scootering prowess. However, over the time that Infinity Community Solutions Ltd.’s (ICS)In-home Support Workers have been supporting the family, we have noticed big developments in their ability to read and encode social cues, their skate park etiquette, and even their self-compassion.
“For these young people, going to the skate park has created a strong sense of belonging and changed their understanding of their place in the world,” says Kaitlyn Timbrell, Outreach Family Support Practitioner at ICS.
Kaitlyn continues by identifying other benefits for the young people: “Both siblings have developed their social engagement skills, built confidence, and increased self-esteem”.
At first glance, a skate park may appear chaotic, with riders of all sorts using skateboards, scooters, and rollerblades zipping by, performing daring tricks, and navigating ramps and rails. Yet, beneath the surface, there’s a delicate dance of social interaction. Observing this environment teaches young people a lesson in understanding social cues.
In this setting, young people quickly learn the importance of taking turns, sharing the space graciously, and respecting each other’s boundaries. The unspoken rules of the skate park translate into real-life social skills that can significantly impact interpersonal relationships and professional interactions. Through the shared love of riding for recreation and sport, people form bonds and communities, demonstrating that even in a seemingly anarchic space, harmony can be achieved through mutual respect.
Riding is a sport that relies heavily on non-verbal communication. Riders convey intentions, camaraderie, and encouragement without uttering a single word. A nod, a gesture, or a grin can signify camaraderie and support.
In a world where words often dominate, riding brings us back to the power of body language, facial expressions, and gestures. It underscores the importance of clear non-verbal signals in building effective relationships. The lessons learned at the skate park about the subtleties of communication can be carried into daily life, enhancing one’s ability to connect with others on a deeper level.
Riding, no matter the wheeled vehicle of choice whether it is a scooter, skateboard or rollerblade is no walk in the park; it can be a challenging and sometimes even daunting activity. And still within these challenges lies a profound lesson in being kind to oneself.
Every rider has faced falls, tumbles, and setbacks. But they also celebrate their small achievements and acknowledge their progress. They learn not to be too hard on themselves when they fail to land a trick or face a daunting ramp. This self-kindness and resilience in the face of adversity can positively impact mental well-being.
In a world that often demands perfection, skateparks offer a refreshing perspective. It teaches that setbacks are part of the journey, and being kind to oneself during those moments is crucial for personal growth. And we are pleased to witness these positive benefits through the families and young people we support.
“Supporting and facilitating opportunities like this for our young people is about helping them get connected, and sets them up for success by upskilling and providing real-world resources through life experience” adds Kaitlyn.
Skate parks may appear to be mere playgrounds, but beneath the clatter of wheels on concrete lies a treasure trove of life skills. The lessons learned in these vibrant spaces extend far beyond the skate park’s boundaries.
As Young People face daily challenges, let us remember that sometimes, the most profound lessons can come from unexpected places. Skateparks, with their unique culture and community, exemplify the potential for positive change and personal growth in even the most unconventional of settings. So, next time you pass by a skate park, take a moment to appreciate the life lessons flourishing within its vibrant and dynamic confines.
Infinity Community Solutions Ltd. In Home Family Support program provides much-needed assistance for parents and carers as well as direct support for children and young people. We aim to support and strengthen their relationships with not only themselves but also their culture and community, build their capacity and resilience, improve their wellbeing and reduce risks. A contemporary evidence-based practice model underpins Infinity Community Solutions Ltd. In-Home Family Support programs.