Tim Ward on Building Connection and Teaching Values Through Skateboarding
Today I’m talking to Tim Ward, the founder of Skate After School, a Phoenix-based nonprofit that provides after school programming in the form of skateboard instruction to underserved youth. Basically, Tim and his team use skateboarding to teach kids strong values, like teamwork and positivity. After visiting the organization’s Instagram page, you are immediately struck by a number of things. The first is the overall tone and positivity of the whole experience. There isn’t a competition over who is the best, but instead, the kids all encourage each other. The second, is the determination. Of course they fall but they get right back up and try it again. Over and over. Lastly, it seems like the adults (Skate After School volunteers, Tim, or once in a while, even a school principal!) are having a blast. I wanted to know more about how this organization that began as a community project nearly seven years ago, grew into a non-profit with a team of 30+ volunteers, serving roughly 240 students per week across eight low-income schools. Tim is an unlikely entrepreneur—he’s cautious and reserved. He puts his energy into high quality programming before he thinks about scale. More than anything though, he just really enjoys the kids. I think as marketers, we can often make things more complex than they need to be. Our search for differentiation leads us to complicated brand platforms and messaging platitudes tailored for each of our different audiences. Once in a while, it’s good to back up and remind yourself, like Tim, why you got into this in the first place. Look to your organization’s output—in this case, Skate After School’s kids—to do the talking for you. Skate After School's logo and branding was created by designer and illustrator, Michael Worful.Special Guest: Tim Ward.