By Joseph Greene (FWTP Oct 2021 Team)
One day when my friend Logan and I were sitting outside our house in the village of Rose Bank and enjoying the sun, we heard something that sounded like a skateboard. We looked up and saw a kid riding down the road on a skateboard with his three friends. They stopped and asked if we knew how to ride it, which we did. We showed them some tricks and then we asked if we could go down to the open flat area to skate around.
We all went down to the fenced area, and they grabbed some friends along the way. We showed them some tricks, and they were totally amazed as they’d never seen anything like it. They all wanted a chance to try, so we showed them how. While they were riding the skateboard, Logan and I played cricket with some other kids, and just like that, a sort of sports club was made. We met them the next day to play and skate again. It was such a heartwarming experience to show them how to ride and see the joy and happiness in their eyes.
We have decided to start a skateboard club, and already 15 kids are in. They have already told their friends, so more will come. Did you ask me how many skateboards? One. We are in a poor country, so this is the situation. How to deal with this? Well, we encourage them to share, sometimes advise them to use it for just 5 minutes each. They are good at sharing, and they want to continue skateboarding and being friends with us.
However, Logan and I plan to contact our old skateboard shops and skateboard friends to get a big package sent here.
There is kind of a negative stigma around skateboarding in the US that we are all punks. Here in St Vincent, there is no culture of skateboarding, so we want to be part of creating a different image. Where I come from, the skateboard community is like a family, with much support from the others, whatever stage you are on. Skateboarding gives us loads of fun, it teaches us not to give up, it creates self-esteem and it develops a sense of accomplishment.
This experience has taught me about saying yes to new opportunities, even if they are a little scary. To be open-minded because then I can see new doors as they open. We hope our activities with the skateboarding club will bring positive change in these kids' lives and promote friendship and belonging throughout the community.