Our second and last Push Berlin Event of the year 2019 took place earlier in December and started off with a private skate session of the German Converse Cons team, went straight into Give Something Back To Berlin‘s skate school project and ended with an open park session for everyone to join.
What is Give Something Back To Berlin, you might ask?
Give Something Back To Berlin (GSBTB) is an award-winning project platform and network fostering community integration, intercultural dialogue, and participation among Berlin’s diverse migrant populations.
Tom Young, Manager of the Open Music School and Skateboarding teacher at the Push project:
We were delighted when Converse invited us to be official partners in the exciting new Push Berlin skate-sessions taking place on the first Tuesday of every month at Yaam.
GSBTB is responsible for organizing the “Open Skate School” to help children and young people living in social isolation to step into a positive skateboarding community.
Open Skate School
The majority of the young people that will be learning to skate with us are from refugee families with diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Several of these families are already involved in other GSBTB activities in some way. This is a fantastic opportunity for younger members of these families to build their own relationships with others, and experience the potentially life-changing benefits of being part of a supportive skate scene. We are recruiting, training and supporting a team of volunteers who have a personal interest in skating. These dedicated volunteers will assist the young participants to get to and from the Push Berlin sessions and learn the basics of skateboarding. The whole process is a tool in which to help the participants to build trusting and positive relationships, discover their own self-confidence and to simply have fun.
Benefits of Skateboarding for Youth
Skateboarding lies somewhere in between the realms of sport, self-expression, and lifestyle. As an individual sport, skateboarding is physically demanding and very difficult. It requires focus, dedication and fitness. Learning to skateboard is a process that challenges the individual to observe, try new things, fall, and then try again, until a new skill is developed. From this process of attempting and failing, over and over again, a form of self-expression is born. Every individual has their own skateboarding “style” because every individual takes a different journey through the learning process. It is a process that never ends, as long as one skateboards. As a result, self-expression and skateboarding are intimately connected. The lifestyle element of skateboarding lies in the community that surrounds it. The ideas and values one learns from this very difficult and never-ending practice go far beyond learning a few “cool tricks”. Spending hours at a skatepark, focussing on your individual progression while surrounded by peers doing the same thing is a perfect environment for lasting friendships to be born. When a supportive skateboarding community is nurtured, positive psychological developments such as focus, dedication and self-confidence thrive.
Skateboarding creates spaces where self-esteem can develop in young people, especially for those who may be struggling to find their place in more traditional institutions such as school or sports teams.
All photos by Danny Sommerfeld.