Tips for First-Time Advocates

Here are a few basic tips that may save time and heartache later.

Write everything down.
Take a notepad (the same notepad) to every meeting and presentation. It will be very damaging to your effort to forget meetings or show up late for presentations.

Remember names and titles.
Collect business cards. While you may not need to get in touch with a particular business owner this month, you can’t know what tomorrow will bring.

Don’t dismiss anyone.
The little kid who talks your ear off about all the tricks he knows might be the son or daughter of a City Council Member. Demonstrate the kind of patience and attention that you will want to receive when it’s your turn to speak.

Don’t ever lose your temper, period.
People are going to say some really stupid things about skaters. Thicken that skin and be prepared for some unfounded, often personal attacks.

Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
Few things in skatepark advocacy ever go exactly as planned. This might apply to a site your group has its eyes on for a new facility, the amount of support you are hoping to receive from a local civic club, or even the reception you expect to get from your local fellow skateboarders.

Stay positive.
Look people in the eye and know that the new skatepark is a noble cause. Skatepark advocates do what few others can. You will be in good company.

Got a tip of your own? Leave a comment!