Ricky is 14 years old and a really likeable, considerate and enthusiastic young guy. He loves being active and has a keen interest in sports, skateboarding and trains but can be shy around people he doesn’t know. 

Before Ricky joined Youth Connect, he spent most of his time at home or at the park with family and neighbours but wanted to do more things outside of home with other people his age.

Ricky and his Recreation Development Officer Jeremy, researched Ricky’s local area and found skate lessons run on Saturdays at the YMCA HQ. The first time they went to check it out, the coach, Nathan, immediately welcomed Ricky and told him about the lessons and how long he’d been skating. Nathan showed the kids a few things he could do on a skateboard and Ricky was mesmerised, but still was quiet in the first part of the lesson. Jeremy encouraged Ricky to give everything a go and talk to the other skaters and as the lesson went on Ricky became more involved and had a lot of fun.

The participants are all eager skaters like Ricky and they all get involved in the diverse exercises Nathan runs. They even combined two of Ricky’s interests and played basketball on skateboards one lesson. Ricky has been regularly attending the lessons and has successfully completed tricks and manoeuvres he previously couldn’t. Before joining the lessons, Ricky would only begrudgingly attempt to ‘drop-in’ to a half-pipe, but know has successfully done so on a number of occasions.

Ricky’s self-confidence has grown as he is being encouraged to give things a go and finding that he can succeed. He is becoming friendlier with the others in the lessons and has enjoyed being an encouraging member of the class. Ricky is always thoughtful towards his fellow skaters and is a good role model for the younger ones. He is always encouraging when others are doing an exercise and waits patiently for his turn without causing a fuss. Ricky is loving this responsibility and is enjoying being part of a thriving skateboarding culture at the YMCA.