With skate culture often comes misconceptions. Its origins of counterculture and rebellion make people think of it as unwelcoming and too edgy for most. In recent years, however, people have continued to break down barriers in the skating world. An increasing number of charitable organizations and schools are found using skateboarding as a force for good, opening up the world of skateboarding to anyone who’s interested. Not only that, but skateboarders are seen mentoring the upcoming generation, passing down old boards and tips, and creating a culture of inclusion.
The Value of Inclusion
With inclusion comes a sense of belonging. When kids are able to engage in an inclusive community with others it sets them up for having positive experiences with lasting impacts. For many, skateboarding has given them more that just friends, but a creative outlet and an empowering form of self expression. In addition to a new and fun form of exercise, characteristics like perseverance and dedication are being shared among all types of communities.
Skating with Kids Through Acceptance
We love seeing the inclusive environment of skateboarding being extended to all kids, including those often marginalized by location, financial means, or physical ability. One community that often battles larger barriers to entry, are children with developmental disabilities. One foundation in particular that uses this sport as a force for good is the A.Skate Foundation. Founded by Crys Worley, a mother of two children, one on the autism spectrum. Through Worley’s effort, the A.Skate Foundation has done a wonderful job of organizing skateboard clinics for autistic children. There, the excitement and rush of skateboarding is unlimited, and unrestricted.
The A.Skate mission statement is: Skating with kids through acceptance, therapy and education. A.Skate understands the impact they can have on children simply by skating with them. Organizations like these are working to continue improving inclusivity by breaking down barriers, and spreading the joy of skating to all.
The trend is catching on and schools are getting involved as well. Some elementary schools have begun creating skateboarding clubs open to those with all types of varying abilities.
An Environment We Can Improve
In our opinion, the best part about skating is its unique culture and supportive environment. There’s nothing quite like landing a trick you’ve been working on for weeks and feeling the support of friends and strangers cheering you on. While organizations around the world are specifically working to encourage certain populations, it’s up to all of us to continue to drive an inclusive environment as the norm for skate culture.
Whether it’s encouraging a beginner at the skatepark, finding an organization to donate an old board to, or talking to your child about inclusive language, there are many ways we all can continue to drive a supportive skate environment for everyone.
The great thing about skateboarding is that it requires nothing more than a board and safety equipment. These are things that most of us think of as basics! And let’s be honest, most of the time, they are easy for us to share. For some, these resources, as well as assistance or instruction, are harder to come by than others. This is where we all have the ability to be a part of changing the reputation of skate culture.
If you’re a skate enthusiast, find new ways to share your love for skateboarding with a population that may have more barriers to entry than you did.
For more opportunities, look up incredible organizations like A.Skate improving skate inclusivity in your community. Reach out, and see what you can do.
Looking for even more inspiration to warm your heart and motivate you to act as a force for good? Check out these “5 Important Non-Profits Making Skating More Inclusive For Everyone”, that are showing solidarity with marginalized communities across the world.
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