I know it is still early days to make a considered judgment on the success of the Fremantle YOUTH PLAZA skate park, but it is interesting to read that researchers of the University of Western Australia-UWA-have found that skateparks are more likely to promote good behaviour, instead of anti-social behaviour, feared by some in the community. The UWA report said that young people at skate parks learn from each other, teach, cooperate, help and respect others, and that they learn the art of compromise and negotiation.
From my observations at the Freo Youth Plaza that is how it is. Young kids watch and get shown by older ones how to do certain movements, they respectfully wait till someone finishes before starting their own spin and they are careful not to hurt each other. I have been there on three occasions and was surprised about the lack of foul language and swearing and the relative peacefulness of it all.
It’s a delight to see so many kids on skateboards, bikes and scooters coming from all parts of the city and beyond to have a spin at the Youth Plaza, while others are happy to continue at the old Woolstores ramp. Youth rock!
The opening of the Fremantle ESPLANADE YOUTH PLAZA skate park attracted a huge crowd today. Kids and parent and teenagers battled for space with the more mature, but it was smiles all over. Awesome was the word I heard most, and cool came close second. What a whole lot of fun is was to watch the incredibly skilled young people on skateboards, scooters, and BMX bikes, or the ones jumping and climbing doing the parkour track.
I fell in love with an unbelievably brave and talented girl who looked like just five years old. WOW! She’ll be a pro skater and world champion one day.
When I see young people I see potential, not hoodlums who want to commit crimes and are off the rails, and I believe they will take ownership of their Youth Plaza, respect it and each other and will look after it. Already today one noticed they were all very aware of one another and keen to share and that is a good sign.
The Youth Plaza is without a doubt a great asset for Fremantle, as Youth Minister Tony Simpson said, and I hope the entire community will now embrace it and leave all the controversy about it behind.
The gorgeous and the even more beautiful were up and ready today when large groups of teenagers came to the Fremantle Festival Norfolk Lanes Youth Musical Festival. It was all relaxed and fun as the hoolahoops spun and some of the braver ones wriggled their hips.
Sunday April 15 is a good day for parents who have no idea what else to do with their children during school holidays. The City of Fremantle is celebrating National Youth Week with INCUBATE. Performing will be Sonpsilo Circus, Wolves at the Door, Lucy Peach, Slackjaw, Amanda Merdzan, and James Hall.
Art, music, an art installation, and all that for free at Fremantle’s Kings Square between 3-7 pm. Should it rain it will be inside the Town Hall.
Last night I did something foolish, something I have never done before. After a social dinner at the Capri for members of the Fremantle Society, I noticed a fracas on the opposite side of the Cappuccino Strip between around 15 young people in their late teens. I stood for a minute to watch and then decided to do something about it, as I did not want to see more parents on TV crying about their child being in a coma because it had been king hit, or had smacked a head on the pavement.
All I did was to walk over and stand between the fighting parties and talk to them in a non aggressive placating way. I asked a crying girl if she was alright, if anyone was hurt, and found out that some of them were celebrating a girl’s birthday. I suggested they go and enjoy themselves and make sure no one gets hurt. Pretty quickly it calmed down. I was pleased with myself for taking ownership of a problem in my city, Fremantle, the place I love and feel responsible for. I could have called the police, but that could have been too late and someone might have been seriously hurt.
Maybe we more often need to take action in our own hands, as the artists at the J Shed do by painting it themselves. Maybe we can’t rely on authorities to always do it for us. Instead of getting frustrated by inaction, we can take the initiative and make the small changes and improvements we want. Forget the red tape and always doing things by the book. I am not suggesting doing illegal things, but common sense stuff. Clean up the mess THEY don’t. Take ownership and make Freo an even better place.
I went to the Perth Royal Show at the Claremont Showground yesterday to take photos and interview kids for the Fremantle Herald and Perth Voice newspapers. One surely has to like crowds of people, everyone bumping into everyone. Screaming teenagers on the trains. Wow, young girls can talk and talk and talk, and say not much more than “like” every second word.
I’ll post a few more photos on the weekend once the newspapers have been published, so here is just the one to wet the appetite.
What a super Saturday the Fremantle Festival presented. If I wasn’t already in love with Fremantle I would be desperately in love now, after 10 days of the most fantastic community spirit, creativity and fun.
I shot the Tweed Run, the Norfolk Lane Youth Festival with all the amazing graffiti art, some mind blowing music, let alone the skills of the skate boarders down in Essex Street. The Wishing Booth came up with interesting suggestions. The Agnes Street Quilt Day was just another example of what our community is all about; people sharing in the most gentle and creative way. I loved it! From there to the Fremantle Arts Centre for the Wardarnji Aboriginal Festival. It has always been one of my favourite events and I was not disappointed today. Back to the Norfolk/Essex for some more youth fun, and finally collapsing at home with a few dark White Rabbit beers from Little Creatures.
Thank you so much Fremantle. You people are so special. Give yourselves a hug!
Photos copyright Roel Loopers. Profile Photography