The skatepark project will have lots of people involved with it. At first, though, it may only be you and a few of your friends. The people you start the skatepark project with will hopefully stay with the project until it is done, and new people will be introduced as the project gains momentum.
The small number of people that you start with will help you organize the project, gather community support, and coordinate your efforts with the city. This is your core group.
The term “core group” will come up a lot throughout these lessons. It refers to this small “inner sanctum” of skatepark advocates that are committed to the project.
If you don’t already have a group of people around you that are committed to a new skatepark, you’ll need to make one by reaching out to other people in your community that are interested in seeing a new skatepark get built.
If it takes a lot of work to get someone involved, it will probably take a lot of work to keep them involved. If you’re having a hard time finding people to join you in your effort, you can get things started by yourself and recruit people later. As the project matures and you’re doing everything yourself, you will probably struggle to keep everything organized and the skatepark project will lose momentum.
The goal of the group is simple:
- Get a new public skatepark built
The core group will achieve that goal by doing the following:
- Manage the process for getting the new skatepark
- Build community-awareness and support for the new skatepark
- Raise funds for the new skatepark
The core group can just be a few people. (You should try to keep it small so that conversations and decisions are easier.)
Your core group should meet at least once a week, depending on how much activity is happening. The group is going to set the pace for all of the other skatepark activity. The more active your group is, the sooner the skatepark will happen.
It’s often valuable to have a core group meeting even if there’s not a lot to talk about. You might be waiting for an upcoming event and have little to do until then. You can use this time to get work on something else. Your group should all be looking for ways to move the process forward, raise awareness, build support, and raise funds.
For example, you might want to present your skatepark project to a local organization or community group. That group may not be essential to your campaign but it will certainly help. You might collect skatepark information from other communities in your region and arrange to have someone contact them to ask how their parks are working out. There are lots of small things you can suggest to your group that will help keep people engaged and advance the skatepark project.
Here are some activities that you can do while you wait for upcoming events:
- Contact other communities in your region with skateparks and ask what they would have done differently.
• Collect images of skateparks that are similar to the type of park you’d like to see locally.
• Find out what other community groups are active in your town and plan to attend one of their meetings to gather information.
• Write to your local Police Department, School Board (or PTA), and local business bureau, to see what their top local priorities are.
• Take a stroll through downtown and take notes about what businesses and buildings put up community flyers.
The core group meetings should usually be face-to-face but they can also be conducted over the phone, or using some other method (like Skype). The meetings might be short — 10 minutes or less — or as long as an hour, depending on how much stuff there is to talk about. We don’t recommend going longer than an hour for planning meetings. (Public meetings with lots to talk about might need to go longer.)
Respect everyone’s time and keep things on point. Try not to meander into conversations that don’t relate to the skatepark project.
For your first few core group meetings, your topics of discussion might include things like:
- What do we need to do next?
- What do we need to do to prepare for the upcoming _______________ (meeting, event, etc.)?
- Does anybody know anyone that can _____________ (print flyers, make t-shirts, etc.)?
- Who will call the school to find out if we’re allowed to pass out flyers on campus?
- Can anyone here volunteer to manage an online calendar?
Remember: Your core group is the brains behind the project.