Mother’s Day at the Skatepark

How will you spend Mother’s Day? Jenny Collins will be at CJ’s SKATEPARK shredding with her son Jack. Unconventional? Maybe. But Jenny is a rad skatemom who is anything but conventional.

Just before his fifth birthday, Jack got his first skateboard after Jenny saw some teenagers skating in the neighbourhood. Jack was a natural on the board, and hasn’t stopped since. With the support of his mom, Jack has continued to learn and improve his skills and is one of the tiniest rippers at the park.

The many faces of Jack

Jenny says skateboarding is an outlet for Jack to cope with his ADHD, anxiety, and grief. When Jack was just four years old, his father passed away, and Jenny knew the importance of having positive male role models in Jack’s life. CJ’s SKATEPARK became a place full of these role models, who have happily taken Jack under their wing, supporting him through the celebrations and the struggles.

Jenny remembers one of Jack’s earliest moments at the skatepark, reflecting on the positive reinforcement given by the older skaters. Jack was determined to drop in, and after asking for some advice on technique, he insisted he was ready. After a few wipe-outs Jack was feeling defeated, but the older skaters were shocked at his perseverance, and reminded him how tough he was with reassuring shouts of: “we would cry too if we wiped out like that!”

Unlike some mothers who are hesitant to let their kids get hurt, Jenny encourages Jack to thrive on the freedom of skateboarding, bumps and bruises included.

“You are going to get hurt,” she would tell him. “You are also going to get back up and try again because you are a tough kiddo!” And he does. Again and again, giving a simple thumbs up to tell his mom he is okay. Jack gives it his all at the skatepark day after day, something that often surprises those around him.

“People would see us arrive at various parks and I could tell they were thinking ‘here comes another precious little boy and his helicopter mommy bubble wrapping him.’ Then he would just go full tilt.” Skaters don’t quit; that’s something Jenny admires most about the community, and something she is proud Jack is picking up on.

Of course, Jenny still lays down the law about safety equipment. “I say that for now I am in charge and he has to listen to what I say – I am the mom. I hope he will always realize that protecting his melon is the most important thing!” She hopes that by teaching Jack about safety, respect, and equality, he will grow up to embody those characteristics. As far as the negative stereotypes surrounding skateboarding, Jenny chooses not to buy into it.

Safety First

“I’m a believer in not boxing people in,” she says. “There are a lot of assumptions that skateboarding and skateparks bring drugs…I disagree.” Jenny hopes that Jack grows up learning that there are more ways to catch a buzz than to use drugs. She says a skater once told her: “I don’t need drugs; I have skateboarding.”

Jenny knows that CJ’s is a drug-free facility, focused on safety and inclusion. It’s a place that she is proud to take Jack to practice what he loves most. Jenny says the skate community is a “warm inclusive group of people” and has become a fixture at both local outdoor parks, and CJ’s. Jenny and her family participate in fundraising events and community gatherings to spread the word about the positivity of skateboarding. She says Jack has learned everything from perseverance and empathy, to communication and problem solving through skateboarding.

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