Skateboarding was born out of a positive place of activism in the 1940’s and 50’s when a couple of restless Californian surfers were bored with their flat, lifeless sea. Looking for some fun, they seized upon the idea of a surfing alternative; ‘sidewalk surfing’, saving them from the boring wait for the waves to come back! Wooden boxes evolved into planks, and planks evolved into decks which we now have today! The decks sold in surf shops across the United States and for a while both surfing and skateboarding had interchangeable skills, culture, and mindset.
During Australia’s National Youth Week, YWAM Townsville wanted to provide a space for members of this unique sub-culture to express themselves. Complete with a six foot half pipe, a skate fun box, rails, boxes, and over a thousand dollars of free giveaway prizes courtesy of Cre8ive Sk8, YWAM’s ‘I Want to Live Youth Event’ celebrated and championed the youth skating culture of Townsville.
Johnny Cochrane, a full-time youth worker for YWAM Townsville, was able to witness the unique dynamic of different generations of skaters working together. He says enthusiastically “The younger youth looked up to and respected the older skaters while the older ones encouraged the younger and were giving them tips and advice.” It was clear to see that skateboarding can provide a platform for different ages to work and learn together as well as how to respect and encourage each other; some pretty critical life lessons.
Respecting the need of youth to express themselves is often an important step in avoiding our young people to grow restless. In listening to our future leaders, allowing them to explore and create new trends, we will help to build their confidence, and help them discover purpose. We might even learn something ourselves!