SKATEBOARDI find it oddly satisfying when an (unconscious) assumption gets revealed, tossed by the wayside and a more accurate depiction of reality takes over. It’s disarming. In the best possible way. A sign of growth. Plasticity. Maturity at being persuadable.

Here’s the set up.

A few days ago I was at a Ninth Grade Counts collaborative meeting. A couple of guys in Keds and casual gear gave a short presentation. They talked about volunteer men (plus one woman) who are able to engage teenagers on the cusp of starting high school so they don’t back-slide from summer learning loss.


Skateboarding. Course props. And a traveling van.


Skateboards open all kinds of doors with kids according to Erik, co-founder of the nonprofit Set Up. His salt and pepper hair gave a clue as to his age, which his attitude didn’t divulge. Artistic kids can paint them. The mechanically inclined can repair or build them. Kids who want to tackle fear learn balance, technique and confidence. He and his co-presenter, a skateboarder turned career film-maker, bantered a bit more. It started making a lot of sense. Trying. Imbalance. Mistakes. Resilience. Grit. Achievement through perseverance.


So were folks in the room. Skateboarding is not synonymous with slacking. Intuiting that a creative and physically active approach will help with kids they’re there to teach, school and program leaders raised their hands to get the ball, uh, skateboard rolling.

Thanks, Erik, for unraveling another of my assumptions in a most delightful way.