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Friday, October 30, 2020

Fort Thomas Dads Create "Dad Skate Squad", Provides Much-Needed Social Distancing Fun Adults

The Dad Skate Squad meets every Wednesday for a friendly, social distanced coast around Fort Thomas. (Img: @Jonbobdotcom, Instagram)

By Jessie Eden

Who says you can't act like a kid again? We all have fond memories of summer evenings spent riding bikes or skating with friends and two Fort Thomas residents decided that, even though they're technically 'grown ups', there is no harm in acting like a kid again.

That is how the Dad Skate Squad was born.

Jon Bob Willis and Robbie Reider came up with the idea during quarantine. "Over Memorial Day, we had a friend (Robbie Reider) over. We had been spending some quarantine time with him. I said 'Let's take a walk' but both our daughters had long boards and the roads in our neighborhood had just we grabbed our boards too and skated with them," said Jon Bob. "We were talking about how long it's been since we've skated, for fun, with a friend."

They enjoyed it so much that they decided to make it a thing.

 Dad Skate Squad coasts through the Midway District. (Img: @DadSkateSquad, Instagram)

Now, just over a month later, the event draws around 20 dads every Wednesday night. The group meets at 7:45 p.m. and leaves at 8 pm. Each Dad Skate Squad session is about an hour and a half. "It's grown every week that we've done it. It's kind of a perfect fit for the whole social distancing thing since we're far apart while skating. We even started an instagram page that has 200 followers now."

So far, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from fellow skaters. "What has been surprising to us is how much they look forward to Wednesday nights. Everybody is pumped, wearing their t-shirts and back patches. So many people have said 'Have you seen people smile at us!?', said Jon Bob. "People laugh at us and we even sang Happy Birthday to a lady we saw who said she was still quarantining at home. It's been a total breath of fresh air."

A Skate Park / Bike Park in Fort Thomas? 

The idea of a skate park was actually suggested during a City Council meeting back in March by Highlands student Wyatt Richards.

The proposal came at a good time. City Administrator Ron Dill thanked Richards for his proposal and noted that, in fact, it was great timing. On February 26, Fort Thomas city staff hosted a public meeting to focus on the parks and recreation portion of the Fort Thomas Community Plan.

Council member Jeff Bezold, chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee, said the group has been looking at incorporating spaces for bikes and skateboards. Nothing is decided yet, he said, but Richards’ input would be greatly appreciated by the committee.

Highland Hills Park features more than 77 acres. Currently, amenities include two sheltered picnic areas, a basketball court, nine-hole disc golf course, baseball/soccer field, a gaga pit and dog park.

The Recreation Committee met on June 1 via Zoom to discuss more progress at parks and the Skate Park and unveiled an initial drawing for a possible skate park and bike park. There was conversation about the best use of space and those talks are ongoing.

(Img: IG user bfaris, @DadSkateSquad on Instagram)

If you're interested in the Dad Skate Squad, Jon Bob says you just have to do one thing -  show up. The only rules are that you be a Dad and you skate.

Follow “Dad Skate Squad” on Instagram for more information.

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