In November, The West came out to shoot a little video of our Youth Connect Program – to celebrate inclusion as part of Social Inclusion Week 2012. The video highlights two stories from the highly successful program, Gio’s story and Ricky’s story. You can read more about Ricky’s story in the Member Story section below.
Youth Connect Recreation Officer Jeremy shares a story about Ricky…
Ricky began the Youth Connect program in April 2012. Ricky is 14 and a great guy, he loves being active and has a keen interest in sports, skateboarding and trains, but was often very shy. Ricky was looking for a regular activity to attend outside of school, with other kids.
Ricky was really keen to get involved in skateboarding, so we found a youth centre which was involved in street art at a local skate park. Ricky didn’t enjoy the ‘art’ side of skating so much but enjoyed the social aspect of the youth centre.
After a bit more research, Ricky and I found skate lessons run on Saturdays at the YMCA HQ open to anyone. The first time they went to check it out, the coach, Nathan, immediately welcomed Ricky and told him about the lessons and how long he’d been skating. Once the lessons began and Nathan had shown the kids a few things he could do on a skateboard, Ricky was mesmerised, but still was quiet in the first part of the lesson. Jeremy encouraged Ricky to give everything a go and talk to the other skaters and as the lesson went on Ricky became more involved and had a lot of fun.
The participants are all eager skaters like Ricky and they all get involved in the diverse exercises Nathan runs. They even combined two of Ricky’s interests and played basketball on skateboards one lesson. Ricky has been regularly attending the lessons and has successfully completed tricks and manoeuvres he previously couldn’t. Before joining the lessons, Ricky would only begrudgingly attempt to ‘drop-in’ to a half-pipe, but know has successfully done so on a number of occasions.
Ricky’s self-confidence has grown as he is being encouraged to give things a go and finding that he can succeed. He is becoming friendlier with the others in the lessons and enjoying being part of a thriving skateboarding culture at the YMCA.