06 May CAUSE & EFFECT: One. Two. Three, Drop In
The thirty-something skateboarders served as a Venice Beach Boardwalk choir of sorts.
Their cathedral was the small skate park just a few hundred feet away from the famous Venice Muscle Beach.
It’s Southern California after all so as many activities that can happen outdoors do.
I was on the beach to escape the confines of a hotel conference ballroom and breathe in some California dreaming.
When I made my way to the skate park viewing area designed for bystanders who want to feel the skating energy but not ride a board, I was struck by both the sights and sounds of the bowls.
The tones of wheels whizzing against the concrete slopes were a hypnotic backdrop to the athletic feats of the boarders. People in the viewing area stood silently taking it all in.
Every so often something would break the rhythmic cadence, a boarder crashing after attempting a trick, a burst of music from the beach, or words of praise and encouragement shared among the riders.
I encountered the choir at one end of the park as they sat in a semi-circle around a young boy teetering at the edge of one of the steepest bowls.
I had noticed the boy earlier making his way around some of the novice sections of the course with ease, but as he faced the more challenging edges he was struggling to make his move.
The choir began to chant, “ one, two, three…drop in” sprinkled with “ you’ve got this little man,” and “don’t think, just go.”
The young boarder could not have been more than 8 years old, and the mother inside me wanted to intervene. The chant in my head was, “Don’t drop in, don’t drop in, go back to the smaller bowls, the safer side.”
The choir clearly knew the kid and knew his capabilities. They saw the possibilities and were encouraging him to take the leap and not let fear get in his way.
I knew nothing about skateboarding in general or specifically about this young rider.
He teetered on the side of bowl for about 15 minutes, took the plunge, and the choir roared.
Possibility realized. Not just with this bowl but soon he was trying more daring areas of the park.
The choir disbanded and went back to boarding. For now, their work was done.
I left reminded that we each have the ability to be an encouraging choir to those who are ready to drop in to possibilities, and to remain quiet when we know our own unfounded fears might get in the way of something new happening for another person or organization.
If you are on the edge of trying something new, building on what your social organization is already doing, or if you are ready to be part of a choir to help someone else drop in or create a vibrant community, the team at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation would love to hear from you at [email protected]
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created more than 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, the Foundation invested $6.8 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of more than $126 million, it has provided $78.2 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s regional headquarters are now located in the historic ACL Train Depot at Collaboratory in downtown Fort Myers, with a satellite office located in LaBelle (Hendry County). For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com.