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A mom's take on the new skatepark

SCV Voices

Posted: April 25, 2009 8:43 p.m.
Updated: April 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
In a day and age when it’s very easy to judge a book by its cover, (especially if that cover is canvassed in tattoos and piercings), I have to say that I think tweens and teens get a bad rap.

Let’s face it: It’s easy to take one look at a tween (or teen — it’s hard to tell them apart sometimes) who’s “inked” and/or pierced, with his or her skateboard in hand, and write off that individual as a punk.

And that’s not to say that punks don’t exist. But I have to say that was not what I experienced as I sat and watched my 8-year-old and his friends first ride amongst the big guys at Santa Clarita’s new skatepark.

I was hesitant to take my 8-year-old to the new park that the city of Santa Clarita so generously built for our youth. Even though he came equipped with his helmet, knee and elbow pads, I was worried.

I thought, “He’s pretty young, and surely there’s going to be much older, more experienced kids running around. He’ll be intimidated.”

And while that was true in the very beginning, he quickly warmed up and found his own way.

But the most interesting thing to observe was how considerate and downright helpful the older kids were to the younger ones. Now, that’s not to say there weren’t the occasional four-letter words dropped, and a few kids (who were in no way 18) smoking — and I dare say even a couple punks. All in all, though, I was amazed to see the varied age groups being courteous, helpful and even sweet!

At one point, a 9-year-old friend who came with us was having trouble getting her bike up some steps. Before I could get up and walk over to her, a young man who looked to be 14 or 15 was grabbing the back of her bike, asking if she needed help as he lifted her vehicle up the stairs and said, “There ya go.”

Another young man saw a much younger boy take a nasty spill on his scooter. As he halted in his tracks and ran to the younger boy’s side to make sure he was OK, all I could think was: “Awesome.”

It renewed my faith in our youth and the human spirit in general. Constantly, older kids were cheering and clapping when a peer did a cool maneuver, showing them unending support.

I was beyond impressed watching 40-year-old dads with their sons and daughters doing amazing jumps and flips and whatever else they call their moves!

And while some of those maneuvers made my heart stop, it was exhilarating to watch. People who brought cameras to take pictures of their own children found themselves watching “the show” and snapping photos of the pros.

As we were leaving, I saw a sign posted stating the rules. Among them read something to the effect of: “We can kick you out if we don’t like the way you’re acting.” Brilliant.

I also saw an office equipped with first-aid kits, a stretcher and various other safety items.

So bring your sons, daughters and their friends. Wrap them up in all their saftey gear, take a deep breath and sit back and enjoy the shows.

After all, in today’s economic times, we should all take advantage of some fun, free activities.

What a fun day and what an unexpected place to find a new faith in our youth of 2009.

Allison Dean is a Castaic resident. Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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