The following is adapted from The Good Push’s programming tips. whether you want to start a skate ministry or host a skate outreach, these are some good things to consider.
About Skate Ministry Programs
There are several different ways you can run a skate ministry or outreach, from loose, community outreach sessions with skateboards that kids can borrow; to structured skate lessons focusing on life skills and discipleship; to weekly bible study focused meetings to teams, missions and service focused groups. The way you run your skate ministry programs will depend on the aims of your ministry, who your participants are, the local culture and the resources and infrastructure you have available.
At minimum, skate sessions should:
- Run according to a regular schedule
- Provide teachers, mentors or volunteers to support participants
- Maintain and provide skate equipment (as needed) for participants to use
- Have a set location to meet (skate shop, skatepark, church, house or other location)
Remember Safety is Important:
- Avoid pushing new skaters too hard
- Give positive feedback and praise whenever possible
- Encourage participants to cheer for each other
- Discourage ridicule and comments that tear down
- Avoid yelling at students, even to get their attention (can use a whistle for group management if needed)
Other Safety Tips:
- Provide helmets and pads (if possible) for students
- Do a regular cleaning, inventory & maintenance safety check on all loaner gear
- Always have enough staff (at least 1 staff/volunteer per 8 skaters)
- Encourage riders to warm-up before and warm-down after skating (especially when doing clinics or lessons)
- Always have water available (hydrate!!!!)
- Great rule to follow…..No food or drinks on the ramps and skateboards
- Keep skateboards and ramps dry. If ramps are outdoors, invest in some good tarps ad a squeegee.
- Train team in Injury/First Aid procedures. This can be done online but in person CPR/First Aid training is ALWAYS recommended.
Remember to always start with prayer and a few minutes with all staff, volunteers and Youth Leaders before each meeting. Use this time to discuss how the time together will be run ad any important updates for the night. Run through all the equipment to check for safety and do a quick walk through of the skate area.
“Each skate projects should have its own rules. The students, staff and visitors have to act according to those rules. The rules should be adapted to whichever community you are working in. Here’s a PDF example of some typical skatepark rules.” – The Good Push
- Rules should be clear and posted.
- Consequences should be clear and followed through on so that rules are respected.
- There should be no favoritism.
- Remember to use rules as a way to share discipline in Christ but also to love skaters and get to the root of issues. Once a consequence is given, welcome the skater back with open arms in hopes that they will not repeat the mistake or feel rejected.
How to Structure Clinics & Lessons
Running structured skate sessions can be useful for community outreach. Lessons or clinics can be broken down into smaller structured groups to help:
- Organize large numbers of kids with varying abilities
- Manage limited numbers of loaner boards
- Giving everyone has a chance to learn
- Building life skills, discipleship and mentorig
- Reducing injuries
Breaking clinics into smaller groups helps make things easier to manage. It helps reduce the need for more volunteers and creates a safer environment.
Overview of a typical skate clinic:
- Go over safety gear and parts of a skateboard.
- Review skatepark rules.
- Warm up and stretch
- Go over falling and practice the best way to fall
- Talk about stance and pushing
- Go over the basics of turning and ollies
- Play a game to help them learn
- Give some free skate to work on goals
- Warm down, celebrate those who learned new tricks & write down goals for next session
Check out this great example for a 1-hour beginner skateboarding lesson from the Good Push You can adapt this to fit your needs.
“Always remember – If you are bored then so are they!” – the Good Push
We all want to be generous but the Good Push puts it this way, “While it can be tempting to give away skateboards, these will very likely wear down over time, get stolen, be left in the rain and not be maintained properly. Most skate projects have a limited amount of equipment to work with and want to make the most their boards.”
Here are Some Great Tips for “Loaner” Skateboards & Safety Equipment:
- Decide on the best way to loan out boards and safety equipment:
- an honor system can work, but a more secure option is for skaters to leave their mobile phone with a supervisor/volunteer which they only get back when they return the board (an idea from Make Life Skate Life’s Suli Skatepark in Iraq!). We often took government ids, a deposit, car keys, or anything of value.
- Spraypaint boards and buy helmets in bright colors. Write or paint your organization’s name on them. You can also paint numbers on them to keep an inventory and track if any go missing and keep a log sheet.
- Equipment can be locked box, locked under-ramp storage area, in a shipping container or similar shelter
- Have 2 or 3 skaters share one board if there are not enough for everyone. Sometime this must be regulates so all skaters get a chance.
- Regularly check all boards. Check that trucks and bolts are not too loose. Look over boards for cracks.
- Wash helmets nightly in a warm sanitizing solution and leave in a place the padding can dry to prevent headlice.
- Train staff and volunteers about board maintenance, such as setting up a board and taking care of it.
Skatepark Maintenance & Storage
Regularly check all the obstacles they’re not damaged, screw are not sticking out, there are no holes, etc. If you find anything that is unusable or needs repairs rope off this section until repairs can be made.
Skatepark tidiness is also important; it will help make your inventory checks run faster and smoother as well making it safer to skate.
If your skate location has movable objects it’s a good idea to mix up the layout of the ramps every month or so to keep the skatepark from getting old and predictable for the skaters.
Choosing a Location for Skate Programs
In case you haven’t found a good location to run your skate programs yet, here are some ideas.
- Existing skatepark
- Existing flat space where you can bring obstacles
- Building a skatepark
- Check out the Public Skatepark Development Guide
- Meet at a local skate shop
- Find a local church who understands skate mnistry
- Meet in a school gymnasium that will allow you to bring portable ramps
If you have additional questions, feel free to contact us.