At Ubuntu Community Collective we foster a culture where our communities thrive because we centre and value our melanated mamas. Caring for the well-being of the woman at the head of the household improves the wellbeing of all her relations. Our goal when we crafted Skate Create Meditate was to take these values and infuse them into a program that focused more on her children.
We are grateful we received financial support from the MLSE Foundation's Community Action Grant. They also believed that Skate Create Meditate could strengthen the whole family unit through movement, sport, creativity, and meditation. Skateboarding has a unique ability to have a positive impact on developing a healthy mind. It's a sport that fosters learning and growth. It cultivates discipline, resilience, and a stronger sense of self. These are all vital skills to focus onSkate Create Meditate also amplified BIPOC and female representation in the sport.
We wanted families of colour to have a safe space to express themselves and learn about skateboard culture in an inclusive way. We set up a mobile skate park in a parking lot surrounded by forest and next to the Children's Peace Theatre in Taylor Creek Park. So from July to October, Skate Create Meditate happened. We did that!
What the outdoor program was like
We always started the 3 hour afternoon session with a grounding exercise as a group to get people into their bodies and free them up emotionally. Then the adults and children split into groups. Each monthly session highlighted a different creative element in skateboarding culture.
Children designed grip tape and applied their own sticker designs on boards they assembled and got to keep at the end of the program. They also designed their own zine pages that were collected, digitized and published in a magazine they received as a gift. Children got to capture their progress on video. Parents worked on art projects that aligned with what the children were doing. This included painting, drawing and making jewellery using beads from West Africa.
All the children got an hour and a half of skateboard instruction with all equipment provided. Childcare for young children was provided and they fully enjoyed exploring the gardens and open green space. If that was not all, healthy refreshments and snacks were provided and a DJ /MC blasted tunes that kept the energy positive and vibrant.
How we measured success
Our families gathered for one last day of camp at the end of October. Movement and stretching all together as a group reinforced the importance of mindfulness practices for everyone. The children did creative art activities that explored skate culture. Children captured their achievements on video. Parents designed tote bags and made more art.
Stronger connections between families clearly developed. Parents were grateful for family time outside of the home. It was so joyful to do creative activities in nature and in community. Children learned to skateboard and create art outside. They all exchanged contacts and made plans to see each other again.
The Skate Create Meditate team created an inclusive and safe space for children who don't normally have access to skate parks. There is only one other skate park on the east side of the Don river area of East York. Out team was led by women who are also youth. Staff, children, volunteers, and parents got so much out of this year’s program. The positive feedback was overwhelming after everyone shared their reflections.
The community can't wait to come together for next season's camp program and we strive to impact even more families. We also want to reach BIPOC youth in the apartment complexes surrounding Taylor Creek Park. They deserve to have joyful experiences in nature. The Toronto skateboard community welcomed us and supported our program with in-kind donations, promotions, and volunteering. We look forward to building and strengthening these relationships.
Reflecting on our initial intentions for this program, we believe that Skate Create Meditate achieved its goal and exceeded expectations. It is blossoming rapidly and needs the continued support from the wider community. Consider supporting Skate Create Meditate in
Support our work
Ubuntu Community Collective accepts monetary donations through e-transfer (email@example.com) and Paypal. A tax receipt for your donation can be arranged. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Trustee is The Children's Peace Theatre, a Canadian registered charity.