My oldest has developed an interest in a hobby that is almost ideal, at least for this mom. I can sit in air-conditioned (and later this year, heated) bliss, while Mason gets 2+ hours of non-stop fun and exercise. Oh! And there's free wi-fi, too! Where, you may ask, is this haven of parental joy? It's Progressive Skatepark in Canton, Georgia, less than a half hour from my home.
Depending on what day of the week and time of day you go, the fee ranges from $5.00 - $15.00 to use the indoor/outdoor facility for a specific time range or all day. Yes, it's not free, but it is still relatively inexpensive compared to other options available to kids. In the owner Mike DeLuca's words:
"I thought it was so unfair that these corporate skateparks were charging the fees they were. As a skater dad with three kids that skated, it really ticked me off that it would cost me sixty bucks to skate for two hours. I thought why not build a skatepark, charge a small fee to cover the overhead (utilities, insurance, labor and day to day expenses) and give a skater the chance to skate in a clean, well lit and safe environment. While I was at it, give mom and dad a great place to watch there kids excel at what they wanted to do. Today our session prices are still the lowest of any major skatepark in Georgia."
In the raise-responsible-children-area, Mason is so motivated by skateboarding that Progressive is an incentive on which I can base his taking responsibility for his weekly guitar and keyboard practice. No more nagging from this mom! (Well, less nagging, anyway.) If he practices a specific amount of time each week without being reminded, I take him skateboarding. If I have to remind him, then he has to practice anyway and there's no skateboarding that week. (Which is kind of a bummer for me, too, as I actually enjoy hanging out there. Ah, the sacrifices a parent must make!)