Reaching out to youth through Skate Jam

2 Jul
The Ohana For Youth Team providing hungry skaters with a free barbeque

The Ohana For Youth Team providing hungry skaters with a free barbeque

By Katie Cameron, Bond University Journalism Student

GOLD Coast City Council have attracted more than a hundred skaters and their families to their annual ‘Skate Jam’ in an effort to encourage a more positive lifestyle for local youth.

Last Wednesday youth and their families gathered at the new Mudgeeraba Skate Park in a Council initiative that has helped engage troubled youth.

Support worker for Gold Coast Youth Services Sue Robertson said encouraging sports like skating is a positive way to deter young people from rising youth issues.

“Drug and alcohol abuse is a big problem for young people on the Gold Coast and often these habits start because of boredom,” said Sue.

“But when they are skating, the kids are passionate and focused.”

Gold Coast Youth Services offered their support to the event after seeing the healthy impact it had on their clients’ wellbeing last year.

“When I saw them so engaged with the sport and with each other, I put my hand up to help out in whatever way I could,” Sue said.

The event also focused on connecting community groups with young people that are at risk of leaving, or are no longer attending, school.

Team Leader of Youth Connections Casey Conway said that the event had significant benefits in allowing social workers to establish relationships with the local teenagers.

“The benefit of this type of event is the conversations it starts,” said Casey.

“The kids have a chance to see our shirt and we can try to build a rapport from there.”

Youth Connections focuses on reengaging students in the education system and providing them with on-going support.

“With the government making getting educated even harder for young people, we have to make sure they know we are here to help,” Casey said. 

‘Skate Jam’ attendee Michael Longbottom said that we should be investing in more of these events on the Gold Coast.

“These events are really enjoyable for my whole family, so it would be nice to see some more of them.”


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