Olympics 2020 Strengthens Kids Skateboarding Camp Trend [Opinion]

The 2020 Olympics announced in 2016 that skateboarding would be a featured game, and now it appears that the kids skateboarding camp trend is stronger than ever in 2017.

When Rolling Stone covered the announcement about skateboarding being added as a medal sport for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, they noted there was some controversy.

For example, skateboarding was never considered a formal “sport” by many old skaters because “the skating world has always been populated by misfits kids who spurn conventional sports.”

It also noted that this “long and beautiful legacy of rejects and artists and weirdos” is still out there and kids full of creative energy will find skating to be “a perfect outlet.”

With the 2020 Olympics shining a light on skateboarding, it should be no surprise to see a surge in skate camps for kids in 2017. For example, East Bay Times reports that a new skateboarding camp for kids recently opened in Antioch, California, at their local recreation department.

Another surprise about the skateboarding camp trend is the target age groups. As it appears, new ones opening across America are intended for children as young as 7-years-old.

For instance, at the Hickman Skate Hangar in Honolulu, Hawaii, kids from ages seven to 17 are encouraged to participate in their skateboarding clinics.

When interviewing the Middleman Skateboard Ministries about their skateboarding camps, it was noted by the Waco Tribune that 10-year-old Noah Mead started skating when he was 5-years-old.

 The 2020 Olympics will spark interest in skateboarding camps for kids.

Interestingly, seeing a headline about a 10-year-old that knows a long list of skateboarding tricks is no longer surprising.

Adding to this, The Age reports that there is a group of Australian kids that travel the world to show off their skateboarding skills. Many of these kids are now 13-years-old, and they claim to have started skateboarding before age 9 or younger.

Naturally, with the upcoming 2020 Olympics, some children are getting serious about their skateboarding camps.

In particular, the Australian Olympic Team held a High Performance Olympic Camp for kids in conjunction with the Australian Skateboarding Federation (ASF). Their goal was to find the best skateboarders in the under-18 age group.

While the growing trend for skateboarding camps for kids over the past 10 years has been targeting children as young as seven and eight-years-old for day camps or clinics, there are also overnight skate camps for older kids such as Woodward, Element, and GoSkate.

In the day camp scenario, many have a package deal for food and activities in addition to the actual coaching. Some will also include at least one private one-on-one lesson with a pro skater, but this is not the primary reason kids want to go to skate camp.

Getting kids to be safe while getting to school might be difficult, but this is the basic skill that is stressed at all skateboarding camps for kids. For instance, while learning how to do tricks and picking the perfect skateboard are all solid long-term goals, the first lessons for kids of any age are learning how to be safe.

For example, the goal of many skate camps is to teach kids how to stay safe in an urban environment and avoid getting injured by cars. Kids are taught that they may be too young, too small, or have other disadvantages that can cause issues in parking lots, playgrounds, skate parks, or street crosswalks.

 First skateboarding camp 2004.

In general, skate camps will provide some insurance, snacks, and water, but you are mainly paying for supervision and instruction. They may also give kids a DVD that has video clips of their performance. As part of the activities, there are also organized special parties or other types of celebrations. Otherwise, the skate camp wants your kids to show up at the camp everyday with all of the required equipment.

In a generic sense, most skate camps are not going to be the types that have cabins or tents where the kids will sleep overnight. Instead, most function as a day camp or clinic, and this means the parents are expected to pack their lunch, drop them off, and pick them up.

In addition to building safety skills for kids in urban landscapes and understanding what might happen at the 2020 Olympics during the skateboarding events, kids also gain many mental and physical benefits associated with skateboarding.

Most people who have never ridden a skateboard do not realize that it can improve your mind and body. For example, Men’s Fitness interviewed Michele Olson, Ph.D., a professor of exercise science at Auburn University in Alabama about skateboarding and fitness.

Dr. Olson said that skateboarding improves balance and coordination. Skateboarding can also improve the cardiovascular system and muscle-building because it is a full cardio workout.

In other words, kids might get a few scrapes and falls with any sport — not just skateboarding. The main goal should be to make sure they are healthy, getting a good workout, and are having fun.

About starting his own skate camp and the difference that skateboarding as a child made on his life, Neftalie Williams stated the following in an interview with Voice of America.

“I ended up putting together my own skateboarding camp for kids in New England because that was me wanting to give back to the sport that gave me so much life.”

[Feature Image by Jamie Squire/Getty Images]