“The Pequannock Township Coalition, a task force of the Community Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Morris, was established in 2011 and is a recipient of funding through the Drug Free Communities Support Program. Our mission is to reduce youth substance use and abuse through education, collaboration, and community-wide change. Our members are residents of Pequannock and Pompton Plains and represent our youth, parents, educators, the police department, civic and volunteer organizations, Chilton Hospital, business owners, clergy, local government, youth serving organizations, and professionals in the treatment of substance abuse.
“We firmly believe that a sense of connection and belonging are protective factors for at risk youth. Although Pequannock Township is rich with opportunities within school and recreational athletic programs, not all youth identify with or feel a sense of belonging within these programs. In fact, nationally, youth enrollment has fallen in traditionally popular sports such as basketball and football, and a Washington Post article recently reported on traditional sport dropout rates. The emergence of alternative sports such as skateboarding, BMX, and rock climbing give local youth the opportunity to stay active, build character, and develop confidence when popular team sports aren’t the right fit.
“The social and economic benefits of a well-designed skatepark are many. They provide a safe and challenging place for skaters of all levels to develop as athletes. They help get kids off the streets and into a safe place. Community skateparks reduce “street” skating and damage to public and private property. A professionally designed skatepark fosters a sense of ownership and pride among the youth that skate there. A public skatepark makes the community appear to be invested in youth and active lifestyles. It becomes a draw for the community as teens outside of the Township influence their parents to bring them to the skatepark 'to try it out,' and maybe stay for lunch or shop in local businesses. Finally, and most importantly to the work that we are doing here in Pequannock Township: youth addiction services professionals have identified boredom and lack of connection as common reasons for substance use. Skating provides a sense of bonding through shared interests with other skaters and their families. It provides a sense of achievement, and a gateway to gaining status and peer respect as the ability to master skills and landing various tricks is realized. This community skatepark would provide healthy activity and an opportunity for youth of all ages, for families, and for adults who enjoyed the sport as youth.
“We, as a community Coalition, fully support the Skatepark Association’s efforts and encourage Pequannock Township to move forward with building the skatepark.”
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