In the words of Redfrogs Tiana Miles the Childers Skatepark was “popping” as more than 100 board and scooter riders and parents turned out for today’s Skate with a Mate event.
Organised by the Childers Neighbourhood Centre, the event was scheduled as school holiday entertainment with the Redfrog team bringing demonstrations, coaching and food.
As a Redfrogs team member Tiana is delighted to be able to travel to rural and regional communities to support activities that engage local youth.
Included in the outreach program that Redfrogs promote is an initiative called Skatepark Shepherds which involves local trained volunteers taking on a “shepherding” role at local skateparks.
“This assists in transforming the culture of the skatepark and provides someone who can be on the lookout for kids who may need the guidance of an older mentor.
“Skateparks can be unfairly given a bad rap due to the actions of a minority,” Tiana said.
“As someone who walked into a skatepark at age 21, I guess I was guilty of misconceptions about how, as a female I was going to be treated. The truth is that riders generally treat you very well and respect people engaged in the sport.”
“I think the kids get a lot out of the sport because there is an adrenalin rush and it is really a confidence-building recreational activity,” Tiana said.
“What I love about skateboarding is that it is a free activity. Once you have the park it is simply there to use. It is a venue that genuinely brings people together,” she said.
“When kids are not boarding you can see them standing and chatting among themselves. That’s extremely valuable engagement.”
Tiana said that she understood that the size of skateparks normally reflected their usage.
“I am a great advocate for enlarging skateparks and adding new aspects. Council could do worse than provide an extension to this park.”
“Seeing the turnout here today I have no doubt any extensions would be used. You do have a great skatepark here though.”
Childers Neighbourhood Centre manager Deb Murphy said she was surprised and delighted with the turnout.
“People have come across from Biggenden and Bundaberg to attend,” she said.
“We have had great numbers and we already have solid bookings for tomorrow (Thursday) at Woodgate Beach.”