In the second installment of our Summer series, #OperationEntrepreNATION, we talked to Steve Wolfe, the creator and director of Solid Foundations Skate Park in Franklin Lakes, NJ. The foundation was inspired by a need in his community for kids with a passion just like his growing up.
Steve grew up skateboarding, along with his friends, but found that there weren’t many skateparks that were easily accessible to them ” There was just no place for kids to go…and we were traveling an hour just to go out to the skatepark in Hacketstown on a regular basis”. This conflict, one that many skateboarders may know too well, is what inspired Steve and his friends to create their own skatepark in their community,”We knew that if we put something into this, we could do something that kids would show up to, and sure enough, they did!” They came up with the idea back in 1999 and it became officially established in 2002 with a mission to “Skate, Create, and Connect”.
To the average onlooker, Solid might look like just a skatepark, but it’s much more than that. It’s a community of big-brother relationships, friendship, mentorship, artistic expression, and giving back. Steve is proud of the kids involved and sees the results of what a community can do for them. “They’re just amazing, you know, just seeing them grow. Not just in skateboarding but seeing them progress as humans, as leaders, as future entrepreneurs. Our kids are hardworking and they have drive. I just know that they’re gunna be tremendously successful”.
As a non-profit foundation, Solid runs on donations from anyone who supports their vision as well as selling merchandise. They also occasionally do fundraising events, which actually took Steve some getting used to in the beginning, “I used to just really fear talking about money with people. I used to not want to do any part of it, but…I feel like it’s really been an act of God, like a miracle. Like changing my heart from the fear behind it to embracing it and loving it and enjoying the process. So today, I see that as part of my role here at Solid Foundations to do that fundraising and to share the story, which to me, [is] like the best part. Just telling stories and meeting new friends and encasting the vision and hopefully inspiring people to get involved with something unique.”
Steve offers the following advice for anyone with a vision that might feel like giving up, “something that I learned in skateboarding is this idea of like, ‘keep pushing’. Pushing through failure to achieve that goal on the other side…” “When you’re learning a skateboarding trick, you’ve got the vision, you’ve got this idea for what you want to accomplish, but it takes failure after failure after failure to learn it, you know? You don’t just learn the trick after a couple tries, but it takes sometimes days, sometimes hours, I mean, sometimes weeks, months… just learn from that mistake and keep pushing.”
Solid Foundations is an organization supported by contributions and would love to continue grow and help the kids in need of a youth facility.
The Skate Park is located at 649 Franklin Ave., Franklin Lakes, NJ where they have a free group lesson from 12:00 pm-1:00 pm and Free Skate (all ages) from 1:00 pm-5:00 pm on Saturdays.