Community skateboard lesson
At the Y, we believe everyone should have access to programs that enrich their lives and help them become healthier, happier and more connected. One way we do this is through YMCA Open Doors, an initiative that provides subsidised access to YMCA programs and services to those in the community who wouldn’t normally be able to access them.
Hume City is the third most disadvantaged local government area in Metropolitan Melbourne*. A high proportion of the population experiences financial disadvantage and many of the families living in Hume come from migrant and refugee backgrounds. This creates financial and cultural barriers for children and young people in the community when accessing community sports and programs.
One of the organisations supporting children and young people in Hume is Kenley Court Neighbourhood House. Run by Banksia Gardens Community Services, Kenley Court offers a variety of free programs, including a study group for children in primary and secondary school where students get help with their homework and socialise with one another. In the school holidays, the group often goes on free or funded excursions so the kids can catch up over the break.
On a recent excursion, the group met up at Jacana Park for skateboarding lessons with Marc Holland, Skate Instructor at the Y. As part of the lesson, Marc brought all the required equipment – knee and elbow pads, helmets and skateboards.
He worked with the team from Kenley Court to ensure all of the girls in the group felt comfortable and supported when gearing up to start the lesson – helping remove one of the many barriers young Muslim women can face when accessing community sport.
The group learned what the basic parts of the skateboard are, as well as a few tips and tricks to help them find their balance. (Skate lessons can provide children with lifelong skills by increasing their physical literacy.) Many of the children skated like pros by the end of the lesson, with some of the younger children surprising everyone by mastering balance and tricks in the blink of an eye.
“I’ve seen skate parks before, but I never had the equipment to go down the ramps or try it out. Today I mastered the flip trick quickly and was so proud of myself,” reported one excited participant.
Kenley Court Neighbourhood House Coordinator, Michael said that the skate lesson provided more than just a fun day out for the group. They showed the children that regardless of their gender, they were equal.
It’s important to us that the children in our group are taught the same skills, in the same way and have the same opportunities. This empowers young people and demonstrates that gender isn’t a barrier or hindrance. Michael, Kenley Court Neighbourhood House Coordinator
The Y focuses on creating equal opportunities for people of all genders and backgrounds, and staff like Marc ensure all participants feel supported and encouraged when they’re engaging in our programs.
The Y’s skate lessons usually cost $300 for a group that size, which is an amount Kenley Court cannot afford. Without YMCA Open Doors, the 15 children who attended the lesson would not have spent the day learning how to skate.
We believe this program made a world of difference in these children’s lives, giving them an opportunity to socialise and get active without any added pressures. To continue running programs like this in the future, we need your support.
Donate to YMCA Open Doors today and help us offer more programs and services to community groups who need it. As little as $20 can cover a child’s place in a skate lesson. If you would like to donate to this program specifically, please select ‘Riverslide Skate Park’ when filling out the donation form.
*As outlined in Hume City Council’s Hume 0-24 Framework: A vision for children and young people in Hume. A 10 year strategy: 2019-2029.