Oct 29, 2018

By Jennifer Folkersen, Recreation Leadership Diploma Program Alumnus (2016)


October brought us cloudless days and bright sunshiny mornings. The effects of those gorgeous fall days were noticed across the lower mainland, especially at our local skate parks. Drive by any skate park on a sunny day and you’ll see a collection of skaters testing out tricks and working on their lines.

Skate parks provide a unique space for mainly youth to connect and hang out, with the added benefit of increasing physical fitness and physical literacy. Nathan (2018) wrote, “Skate parks provide a safe space for skateboarders, promote an active lifestyle and provide economic benefits to their communities”. Benefits also include an increase in social networks and friendships which enhance the spirit within local communities.

Having spent the past summer at a variety of skate parks I was most surprised by the unique culture. Skaters and park users organize themselves; they have created a society where more senior skaters share tips and tricks while coaching younger, newer skaters. This would not be possible without the creation of these concrete gathering places. The Tony Hawk Foundation (2018) stated, “There are the social benefits of providing a facility for young people, and particularly at-risk youth, to pursue an athletic activity that they love. There are public health benefits to having a safe place for young people to develop active lifestyles away from the risks found in the streets. Dave Sattler, one of the founding members of CityFest an amateur skateboard and longboard festival in North Vancouver, described the skate park community as a space to connect, work on skills, and take risks. He said, “It’s important that skate parks continue to keep their grassroots feeling, kids that have come from difficult situations often find their fit and family there. It’s a close-knit community” (D. Sattler, personal communication, July 19, 2018).

When I think about this vibrant community, I am grateful that Cities are paying attention. There are many vibrant spaces across the Lower Mainland for Youth to practice their sport and connect with each other in a positive space. Next time the sun comes out, go check out what’s happening at your local skate park, it may just surprise you.


Nathan, S. (2018, May). Skateboarding popularity is growing - get ahead of the curve. Retrieved from National Recreation and Park Association: https://www.nrpa.org/parks-recreation-magazine/2018/may/skateboarding-popularity-is-growing-get-ahead-of-the-curve/

Tony Hawk Foundation. (2018). FAQ. Retrieved from Tony Hawk Foundation: https://tonyhawkfoundation.org/faq/