In today’s turbulent world, many forget that young people can be smarter than they are given credit for.
That’s not to say that they always make the best decisions or behave with their best interests in mind, but they can be problem solvers.
That youthful spirit and ingenuity was on full display in Southern California this week after government officials took extreme measures to stop lovers of extreme sports from enjoying their favorite hangout spots during the country’s health crisis.
After city officials in San Clemente, California, shuttered a skate park last week by filling it with tons of sand to enforce the state’s mandatory lockdown, rebellious youths found a way to make lemonade out of lemons.
The Orange County Register reported city officials found fences and signs to be ineffective in closing Ralph’s Skate Court during California’s stay-at-home order, so they took drastic measures with heavy equipment to fill the park with 37 tons of sand.
Video of skate parks across Southern California being filled with sand went viral online.
California is filling their skate parks with sand to make them unusable amid mandated lockdown.
There is no scientific or medical rationale for this.
This has nothing to do with a virus.
This has nothing to do with protecting people.
This is about power.pic.twitter.com/jXEaiPUk2e
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) April 18, 2020
The images irked many, but none more than the young people who frequent the parks for exercise and fun.
But many extreme sports enthusiasts have a rebellious streak, and those in San Clemente weren’t about to let a lot of sand get them down.
With Ralph’s Skate Court unusable to many, one young man named Connor Ericsson had the idea to break out dirt bikes and transform the skate park into a miniature motocross track.
Ericsson, 25, shared video of the park being used for jumps and other maneuvers on Instagram.
Soon after arriving at the park, according to Ericsson, skateboarding regulars showed up.
He then shared images of himself and other dirt bikers helping to clean up all the sand using shovels, brooms and buckets.
“Took advantage of the all the sand the city dumped into the San Clemente skatepark then helped some local skaters dig it all out so they could do some social shredding,” Ericsson wrote.
The vindictive CA government filled this skatepark with sand so no one could use it.
These people returned and converted it into a dirt bike track.
— Young Americans for Liberty (@YALiberty) April 20, 2020
Ericsson also shared video of the park cleaned up and being used for its intended purpose.
Damn they’re actually shoveling it all out to make it skateable again pic.twitter.com/4LPw1Scy7Z
— COLTYBRAH (@coltybrah) April 20, 2020
“These kids are cooped up inside their house and just want to go out and have some fun,” he said.
View this post on Instagram
We made it on the news! The skateparks are ours and we need to take a stand! Stoked we were able to bring some light to this situation during these times. Hopefully this is an eye opener for some people and the kids are free to use the skatepark sand free from now on @kusinews
“The skateparks are ours and we need to take a stand! Stoked we were able to bring some light to this situation during these times. Hopefully this is an eye opener for some people and the kids are free to use the skatepark sand free from now on,” Ericsson wrote on Instagram.
He later told CNN: “You’re telling me you’re allowed to go to Walmart, where there’s 500 people at once, but you can’t go to the skate park where there’s only a handful of kids who want to be outside because they’ve been cooped up?”
Samantha Wylie, San Clemente’s recreation manager for the Beaches, Parks and Recreation Department, told The San Clemente Times, “On April 1, we kind of let it play out to see if users would abide by the closure.”
“During that [two-week period], we saw people continue to skate the park, groups would gather, kids with their parents; it became a regular [occurrence]. It appeared the closure was not abided by,” she added.
Looks like Wylie and other city officials are going to have to up the ante if they plan to stay a step ahead of their city’s youth.
While adults are rightfully concerned about the dual health and economic threat posed by the coronavirus, it may be easy to forget how the country’s situation is affecting our youth.
The world is still turning, and kids want to be kids.
In light of how heavy some states and municipalities have clamped down on outdoor activities, a bit of youthful civil disobedience seems an appropriate reaction.
Your move, San Clemente.
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