Concrete Playground Creates Life Lessons

All photos: Mike Gualdoni

As you pass the skate park on Main Street in Riverton, you’ll see kids from all walks of life. They’ll be trying their hand (and feet) at the newest tricks. You’ll hear laughter, cheers, and also a few grunts of pain.

Skateboarding is not easy.

“The pain of hitting the concrete and getting back up again is a big life lesson,” says Matt Wright head of the Central Wyoming Skateboard Association. “Kids will fall and fail, over and over, but continue to keep working.”
This lesson is being learned by hundreds of kids in Riverton because of support from you.

In 2015, with your help, the Wyoming Community Foundation made a matching grant to the Riverton Depot Foundation to help build the park. The match was met in days.

Photo Credit Mike Gualdoni Skate Park 1

More than just skating

Even now, Matt says on a cold January day, the kids are out shoveling snow. They have pride in the space – and they utilize it. Even in bad weather Matt has seen as many as 30 kids.
He also says there are about 10 to 15 kids who have made skateboarding a lifestyle.
“Anything that kids are passionate about and keeps them away from drugs and alcohol is a good thing,” he says.

What’s just as important is the self-worth they are building.

“These kids have friends cheering them on and giving them confidence. That self­esteem is so important. They are learning that it takes so much practice.”

Finding Success

The kids are trying their best. And succeeding. With pride Matt recounts a story in which he took a handful of kiddos to a statewide competition. They were the perceived underdogs.

“Here we were in a setting where other kids had the best gear. Other rider’s parents were there cheering them on,” Matt says. “One of our kids beat out all of his competitors. He didn’t have the fancy gear and his parents weren’t able to make it to the competition. He won because of his drive and his love
of skateboarding.
Kids are standing up on the podium. Their picture is in the local paper. They see their hard-work paying off.”

The Wyoming Community Foundation thanks you for giving these kids an opportunity to succeed!