It was a high-flying summer at Bethel Christian Reformed Church in Acton, Ontario.
Rev. Ray VanderKooij said church members noticed students from nearby schools were using the freshly paved parking lot as an impromptu skateboard park. “We could either police it or see it as a possible outreach opportunity,” says VanderKooij.
The church installed skateboard equipment as well as basketball nets and an area for road hockey. It also hired Andrew Nunn, a Redeemer University College student with a passion for skateboarding, to connect with the boarders in a nonthreatening way.
The new skateboard park attracted between 30 and 40 neighborhood skateboarders every day.
VanderKooij said he and many other members of the church had thought teens were “from a different planet . . . Now I have an easy rapport and a conversation connection with them.”
The church hopes to draw some of the skateboard park regulars into church programs such as Cadets, GEMS, and youth group this fall.