Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sundays in the (Skate)Park with Sk8terdude

It's Sunday, so I'm back at Second Nature in Peekskill, where Sk8terdude and a small but active group of boys are ignoring the incredibly beautiful weather outside so they can work on some new tricks inside.

And they're not the only ones tackling some new tricks.  (I'll do my best to avoid the old dogs reference here!)

I sat down with the owner for a quick chat.  Yesterday he set up shop at the Tarrytown, New York Healthy Kids Day.  They ran free mini-skate lessons for kids of all ages, handed out information about the skate shop, and encouraged kids to sign up for summer camp at the skatepark (registration is now open).  Sounds like everyone left with a smile...

In the process, we touched on some marketing ideas for the skatepark and some of his plans for the future.  On his wish list:  replacing the upstairs half-pipe with a bowl (that's on Sk8terdude's wishlist, too), getting involved with The A.Skate Foundation, (their mission:  Autism. Skating with Kids through Acceptance, Therapy, and Education), ordering 2ntr-branded tote bags to sell and/or use as gift bags for camps, parties, etc., and providing additional opportunities for homeschool groups (one group already meets here on Friday mornings).

But before they get to the wish list, there are some actual events to oversee, including the upcoming art show opening, Friday, May 11th, at 7:30 p.m.  A sequel to the recent Megadeck 2 show which ran at the Paramount Center for the Arts in February, the show will feature more than 20 local artists celebrating the skateboard deck.  Stay tuned for details...

The skatepark at Second Nature is rolling up to its first anniversary (June 10th).  As the day-to-day details of running the skatepark become, well, second nature, it's great to see these guys expand their horizons, looking for ways to give back to the community while continuing to grow their business.

Now if they would only build me a private parent lounge!!!  (Just kidding...sort of.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Estrogen in the House

After a fun morning with Sk8tergrandma (first visiting The Raptor Trust, then doing a skateboard-related art project), we arrived at GardenSk8 at the appointed hour (according to the website, they opened at 3 p.m. today), only to find the lights off and nobody home.

Well, technically, there was a guy servicing the vending machines and another guy (friend of the owner) skating inside, but we were told there was no one working and they weren't sure if the place would be open today because it was the owner's son's birthday.  Hey, as a mom, I totally get the importance of birthday celebrations.  But would it have been so difficult to post a note on the website if they weren't planning to open?

Fortunately for us, the skater called one of the guys who works here and we were told they would be open shortly and Sk8terdude could go ahead and start skating, which he did.

So I set myself up in the ubiquitous parent lounge (warmer than last December but not as warm as yesterday!), turned on my computer, and then, before I could really get started, in walked C & J, two adorable girls, long hair flowing out from under their helmets.

I've written before about barriers to entry for girls who want to skateboard, so I was interested to hear what the girls, both sixth graders, had to say.  I assumed that most girls who skate start out with older brothers who skate.  To my surprise, C & J told me that their initial interest in skateboarding came from the Naked Brothers Band and, specifically, Alex Wolff, who skateboarded on (and, presumably, off) the show!

So around age six C was given a small skateboard and a mini-ramp from Toys'R'Us for Christmas.  She tried to skate on her own.  Last year a google search turned up the fact that GardenSk8 was located less than 30 minutes from their hometown.  C took some lessons, convinced J to tag along, and a passion for the sport was ignited.

Both girls are familiar with Girls Riders Organization and attended their event here at GardenSk8 last summer.  They also attended the Streetleague finals in New Jersey last summer.  But neither girl was able to name any women pro-skaters.  C said that for vert she likes Andy Macdonald and Bob Burnquist and for street she likes Paul Rodriguez and Ryan Scheckler.

Beyond skateboarding, the girls say they've both played soccer and basketball, they participate in gymnastics, and they've both taken dance.  And they both agree that C is a bit more of a "tomboy" than J.  They were delightful, articulate, and happy to talk about their lives as skateboarders.  [When I said I wouldn't/couldn't put their names or faces on the blog without their parents' permission, they asked me if I would still be here when C's mom picks them up so I could ask.]

Happily, both girls report that they've never been hassled about being skateboarders and that the boys have always been nice and accepting of them.  I hope that their passion for skateboarding won't be squelched as they move into those teen years, when being different becomes more difficult for so many.  And both girls acknowledged that it would be great to have women role models to follow... who knows, if they keep skating, maybe someday in the future younger girls will be talking about the two of them as role models!

In the meantime, I was just happy to see a little estrogen in the house.

Many thanks to Sk8terdude for willingly giving up the "spotlight" for this post!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

If at First You Don't Succeed....

For some (many), Spring Break means Florida, beaches, bikinis, and beer, and not necessarily in that order.  And, yeah, once upon a time, I might have thought of those things, too.  But in the interim years, before Sk8terdude and OlderBrother are old enough to appreciate that particular vacation fantasy, Spring break for us translates a little differently.

So while OlderBrother heads to the Baseball Hall of Fame with Skaterdad, I'm back in New Jersey for a mini-road trip to Shields Skatepark and GardenSk8, with a quick visit to Sk8tergrandma thrown in for good measure (and good karma).

You may recall our last visit to the Garden State was a little chilly...  I'm happy to report that it is a beautifully warm 76°F outside and a comfortable temperature inside Shields, where I am not so comfortably seated on one of those metal folding chairs I complained about last time.  But I digress...

It's a great day to be at Shields if, like Sk8terdude, you want to work on some new tricks.  Since it is NOT Spring Break in New Jersey, the skatepark was virtually empty when we arrived for the 2 p.m. opening and, three hours later, there are still only a handful of boys inside - mostly on scooters.  A few minutes ago, Sk8terdude asked me if I would film him.

It took me three tries to get the iPhone video to work properly (don't ask) and then it took him three tries to successfully land the wall push.  But land it he did.  A lesson for both of us to always "try, try again."

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sk8terdude Skates...Clip Reel

Sk8terdude decided we needed an updated clip reel from recent (and not so recent) skate trips, so here it is.  Enjoy!