Open Road at Afro-Punk: Mentor-based skate school & camp Commodore Barry Park is a deteriorated and underused

park located between two public housing projects. For a period of two months before Afro-Punk Open Road went into both public housing projects, to all local schools and groups, and in the park itself. We did face to face outreach, at all different times of day. For a period of one month before Afro-Punk this outreach took the form of a mentorship-based camp, using Urban Youth curricula. From these activities we learned more about the park, recruited people to the event in the park, and also changed the park itself by changing the social environment. The effect was immediate and profound. Personal relationships formed between people who had a common goal of improving Commodore Barry Park. Afro-Punk was attended by 20,000+ people over a three day period including at least 1,000 youth, and the Parks Department has been communicating with us on permanent environmental improvements to Commodore Barry Park. Some of these improvements were previously proposed by the community, and some were conceived and proposed during Urban Youth planning.

Areas where youth can design skateboard decks, make graffiti murals, and draw were aligned with tables full of knitting and sewing supplies and children’s art materials. Teens, seniors, adults and kids naturally worked side by side because of the layout of these freely available materials. They began interacting and mixing naturally.

An area where teens could come and sit in the shade was open to everyone all day. This teen area was in a walkway between the event areas. It was private and public at the same time; appealing to teenagers and kids.

Teenages recruited one another from this shady area to teach young kids and seniors skateboarding, which was fun and interactive and led to new relationships forming. A youth filmer (Tracy Landon, 18) filmed, edited and produced a video for Open Road of the event. http://www.vimeo.com/12965082. A tutorial “How to Measure your Park” using Google Earth, by and for youth was published on public mapping and park design websites, and this tutorial features Commodore Barry Park. https://picasaweb.google.com/OpenRoadPark/ParkDesignHowToMeasureYourSite?feat=directlink. Digital pictures studied and produced by adult/youth mentor teams are here: http://playgrounddesign.blogspot.com/2010/06/mentor-pairs-took-digital-pix-of.html Commodore Barry Park has also been a base for one of our innovative additions to the Urban Youth curricula. Using the maps and research we developed in the past, we created a Park Design Game, where youth create maps of parks, create improvements virtually, and then use these virtual parks to engage a youth advocacy team to make improvements in the real park itself. This has proven successful in the parks surrounding Commodore Barry and it’s neighboring projects in Fort Greene. At Parham Park/PS 20 and Bridge Park 2 as well as nearby Squibb and 51 park, people made maps, Skate3 movies and skate videos. As prizes for successful completion of maps we gave out skate decks signed by local skaters, who themselves are advocates for parks and live near these parks that are part of our Urban Youth coalition. This combines our previous work from 2005 to now, where youth created maps and put them on Oasis, Google Maps, and brings it to a whole new interactive level. The Park Design Game combines popular video game platforms like Xbox 360 with Google Maps and Oasis to produce the base maps needed for park improvement projects. It has proven very popular with teenagers, and you can see blue hyperlinks to youth-made maps and youth collected data combined with agency data, as well as data from the Census and elected officials. Park Design Game
Choose a park or schoolyard. Measure walls, steps, cracks, drains. Study existing photos. 2. Make maps in SketchUp, Sims, Skate3, pencil. 3. Learn how people use it now. Ask people at the place, search youtube, and oasis. 4. See what people want on scribd, surveys + real people at the place. Draw avatar models of them. 5. Make 2D + 3D game pieces of what people want to to do there. Choose an avatar to represent each kind of user: skater, biker, student, parent, teacher, kid, teenager. 6. Take pix and list the good + the bad about the place 7. Play design games with people at the real place. 8. Play Android and Skate3 games of your place with people. 9. Play games, skate, football, free play at the place with people. 10. Send game + place info to sponsors who might support it. 11. Get support with info on kids nearby + need for parks. 12. Work with partners to build your new park improvements

Curriculum Outline for Open Road at Afro-Punk Organizing, Fact Finding, Generating Ideas, Creating a Program Design, Leading the Program Goal: Art, skateboarding, BMX, are integrated with design, stewardship, and environmental improvements in a public park to create a high quality camp, festival and after school program. Participants use a structured 5 step Participatory Design process that will be used by the local team for ongoing community improvements. Organizing Assessment of community assets and needs. Assessment of Commodore Barry Park assets and needs. Broad outreach within the park, inside Farragut and Ingersoll Houses, PS 287, Khalil Gibran Academy, PS 261, PS 20, Academy of Arts and Letters, Parham Park. Focused outreach: approach people skateboarding, biking, and playing in the park and invite them to the team Form the team of local youth participants in the pre-event camp, Afro-Punk, and in post event activities Form the team of local leaders of the pre-event camp, and all other activities Determine people’s interests, skills, and roles in the program Make needed revisions in organizing plan and proceed to Fact Finding Fact Finding and Generating Ideas Learn about Farragut Houses and neighborhood present, past, and desires for future changes. Measure Commodore Barry Park and produce digital pix/maps of the festival area and the neighborhood. Interview neighbors, school principals, program leaders, and youth on improvements to Commodore Barry Provide Festival site layout, schedule, and plan to youth team Plan program activities at festival together with the youth team Lead a full day design and outreach family festival at PS 20 on Afro-Punk festival and Commodore Barry Learn about PS 20 and produce maps of the Afro-Punk outreach/family festival area and the neighborhood. Create a Program Design With the youth team, create a program for 4 days before the Afro-Punk festival. Activities include; outreach, skateboarding that meets NY State Standards in Physical Education, biking, participating in baseball games at the park, art, architecture, and mapping activities with children and teenagers within Commodore Barry. Leading the Program Local youth leaders of the pre-event camp, Afro-Punk youth programs, and post event activities at Commodore Barry Park, PS 20, and the surrounding neighborhoods: Olu Wallace, Nikios Wallace, Steven Lora, Michael Rivas, Anthony Rodriguez, Taji Ameen, Dave Willis/BD, Kane Cameron, Mory Kamara, Stephan Martinez, Denzel France, Victor Thomas, Tarela Kelvin E, Wade Yates, Patrick Reid, Fiddy Brown, Joseph Delgado, Rodney Torres, Rob Campbell, Tim Rutgers, Keith White, Billy Rohan, Paula Hewitt Amram, Aswad Foster. A youth team and 5 adults led a program for the Afro-Punk festival’s 20,000+ attendees. All attendees were invited to participate in the Open Road at Afro-Punk youth program. At Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn we created a youth arts and skateboarding zone that was the center of youth activities during the three day long AfroPunk festival. 12 youth from our core team, 10 additional youth and 5 adults and seniors recruited directly from Commodore Barry Park in the months leading up the the festival, all worked together on the festival overall, youth programs in particular and on environmental improvements to Commodore Barry Park. The program during the festival had two key components. 1. A broad effort to provide a rich attractive youth area, where graffiti arts, fiber art, doll making, martial arts and environmental studies are integrated with skateboarding. The design of the “pop-up” youth space itself encouraged youth to interact with each other and with people of all ages. 2. A focused curricula on Skateboarding.

Open Road Skateboarding Curricula follows New York State Standards in Physical Education

Students understand and demonstrate movement concepts and principles in a variety of movement forms: Skateboarding requires self awareness, balance and physical control. Students learn to walk, push, glide, skate forward and backward, hop and jump (ollie), all of which demonstrate different movement concepts and principles. Momentum, inertia, friction, slope, incline and other concepts are learned naturally while skateboarding, in a fun, experiential and challenging atmosphere. Students use interpersonal communication skills that respect differences and demonstrate responsible and social behavior: In Open Road skateboarding physical education classes students depend upon one another, learn from each other, work on skills in a group and work independently. Students learn to respect one another's physical capabilities and differences. Skateboarding as a group requires students to demonstrate responsible and social behavior by respecting one another's physical space, learning not to skateboard into one another, enjoying the achievements of others, and learning to assist one another in mastering the skills. In skateboarding culture when a skateboarder falls in public others show respect. Students in the class quickly adopt this standard. Students exhibit a physically active way of life and understand that physical activity provides opportunities for enjoyment, challenge, self expression, stress reduction and employment: By participating in Open Road skateboarding classes and being encouraged to skateboard on their own after school, and at citywide skateboarding events with their families, students participate in a physically active way of life. Skateboarding is naturally enjoyable and fun for children. Learning the sport is challenging, and by increasing the skills learned, the skater is continually challenged to learn more. Skating encourages selfexpression by teaching the students at their own pace and allowing them to create their own choreography. The physical and mental focus required to skate well, along with the sensation of freedom felt gliding, reduces stress. The career and employment opportunities provided by skating are evident from the sponsorship relationships associated with skateboarding events, and through exposure of students to skating instructors – professionals who earn a living by skating and teaching the sport. Students demonstrate competency in physical skills with proficiency in several: Skateboarding requires competency in a variety of physical skills. At the conclusion of the school year, the students are able to demonstrate competency in numerous physical skills on the skateboard, including standing, pushing, gliding, skating forward and backward, balancing on one foot, hopping, jumping, turning forward and backward, and navigating safely through the playground. Students demonstrate safe and responsible personal and social behavior in physical activity settings: In Open Road skateboarding classes, students learn and are able to demonstrate safe behavior while using a skateboard. This includes the proper way to wear and care for the equipment, the safe way to fall and get up, and how to distinguish between safe and unsafe skateboarding behavior. All of the skills learned will include the proper and safe way to execute each maneuver, with discussion of the possible consequences of not executing the maneuvers safely. Students learn safe ways to assist someone who has fallen, to avoid bumping into other skateboarders, and to respectfully alert other skaters who may not be aware of their proximity.

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