Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon awarded to Titus Dittmann

In a ceremony in the Lamberti Room of the District Government of Münster, District President Dorothee Feller presented the high honor to Titus Dittmann on October 21. She thus honored the decades-long commitment of the skateboarding pioneer and ambitious educator to the sporting and social spheres. Titus Dittmann is "many": skateboard pioneer and entrepreneur, racer, ex-student councilor, youth lobbyist, university lecturer and above all: instigator with skate-aid and the educational power of skateboarding in the context of worldwide youth aid projects.

Within the last 40 years, the 73-year-old has shaped the skateboard scene in Germany and Europe. He realized early on that skateboarding is more than a trend sport or leisure activity. The board with four wheels is an "adult unsuitable means of expression and a way of life". The Titus company is a leader in the retail of skateboards & streetwear.

In 2009 Titus Dittmann hands over the management of the company to his son and creates his own foundation. Since then, he has been supporting children's and youth projects worldwide with the skate-aid initiative, which uses skateboarding to provide development aid. Where life is marked by terror, violence and destruction, he wants to empower kids with the educational power of skateboarding. Always with full commitment, always true to his motto: The heart must burn!

Five questions for Titus Dittmann:

1. You already have many top awards. What do these awards and now the Federal Cross of Merit on ribbon mean to you?

"20 years ago, I refused all the awards, out of fear that I might lose my credibility in the skateboarding world. But since I know that the fear is unjustified, I also enjoy the acceptance and recognition of the establishment and am even very happy to have arrived there. With the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon, I've now pretty much reached the end of the awards end of the road. But at the age of 73, it's a good thing to be able to look back with pleasure from time to time. But it’s much more important to me that this medal is also a motivating confirmation for my team and all skate-aid supporters for their great commitment!"

2. So success is not something you can achieve on your own?

"Absolutely not! Without my strong family, the many burning hearts and without the many intrinsically motivated and enthusiastic people at my side, I could not have managed all this at all. At this point, a big thank you to everyone who has accompanied and encouraged me along the way. The list would be too long to list them all, but each one has a place in my heart."

3. You've already accomplished so much. What's next for you?

"I know I'm an old bag and I feel so good about it! When I was approaching 30 in the late 1960s, I still had a problem with getting older. But with each new "0", my life got more and more awesome. I'm sure that will continue at 80, with my next "0." How else am I going to implement my many ideas for skate-aid, to empower kids worldwide! There is still a lot to do and certainly more and more in Germany."

4. What makes skateboarding so interesting as an educational tool?

“Skateboarding is pure self-determination and provides, especially in our society, an urgently needed balance to the ever-increasing foreign socialization by parents, teachers, coaches and caretakers. Skateboarding gives children adult-free time for self-socialization and personality development. Skateboarding brings good insights for life such as "After falling down comes getting up and trying again!", "self-set goals are much easier to achieve than those set by others and above all, achieving self-set goals makes you happy". So it's about self-efficacy, raising self-concept, intrinsic motivation, resilience, or in short: personality building. Skateboarding empowers kids through self-determined learning!”

5. What effect did the pandemic have on your work?

“Since my work is also very self-determined and I don't think much of life planning, but rather use and prefer flexibility and opportunities, I was able to adapt my work very quickly to the circumstances. As an entrepreneur for almost five decades, you are constantly a crisis manager, sometimes more, sometimes less. However, the pandemic will still have many effects on the work at skate-aid, because due to the many restrictive Corona measures of the last time, especially with children, due to lack of movement and lack of social contacts, a large backlog demand has arisen, not only in the motor area. Skateboarding as a "movement-oriented youth culture" and "aesthetic mind cooperative" will help many children with corona effects back on their feet with a lot of fun and let them find new friends. I am glad that we already have skate-aid with its many educational tools. At the latest now after Corona we would have had to invent it otherwise.”