Skateboarding introduces a new way of self expression to Indigenous youth

July 16, 2021

(Source: Energetic City News)

By Tre Lopushinsky Jul 16, 2021 | 6:15 PM

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Indigenous youth from Fort St. John {including Doig River} and Blueberry River were introduced to a new culture, and way of self-expression this week.

CNRL and Cole Andrews hosted the ‘Let’s Try Skateboarding’ camp on July 15th and 16th at the Rotary Skate Park, which had around 50 kids participate.

“We’re trying to find a creative way to reach out to kids. You’re competing with devices, phones and all sorts of sedentary activities. We’re looking to get kids to move in any way we can,” said Andrews, a former skate shop owner, who has led similar programming for School District 60 over the last two years.

CNRL had also purchased 40 completes, skateboards with all its components, for the kids in the camp.

The organizers opened up the camp to the community Friday after a low number of Indigenous youth signing up.

“It was just an absolute riot. And then, [Friday] with the rain, we went inside the Pomeroy [Sport Centre] building and used the hockey rink. we brought in some ramps and it was absolutely fantastic”

Andrews teaches potential rippers the basics, but says there is no technical way to learn and it’s all about raw encouragement.

“There’s no coach going to be blowing his whistle and telling you to get on your skateboard. It’s all up to you. It’s all self-motivated and self-driven.”

Anyone whose hopped on a deck knows that bailing is inevitable, but it’s about pushing past that fear because there is nothing like the feeling of landing a new trick.

“The first person that bails, we give a prize to and then everyone realizes, oh, if I bail, I get a nice Thrasher sticker or whatever. By the end of it,  I got kids dropping in, I got kids flying off launch ramps. It’s just crazy what you can do with a little bit of encouragement.”

Skateboarding is for everyone, and Andrews likes to instill this mentality into every kid he teaches.

“When you introduce skateboarding, everyone’s on a level playing field again. The kids that were the star athletes all throughout school, now they’re struggling. All of a sudden, it gives everyone a chance for a fresh start at trying something. A lot of times the kids that do really well towards the end of the class, maybe aren’t the most athletic, but they’re the most brave.”

Andrews said CNRL will fund the camp again in the future because “the feedback was just phenomenal” but he isn’t too sure when that will be.

Community leaders were also down at the skatepark earlier this month, and, in one presentation, Andrews spoke about how to build skateparks.

“You don’t need to spend that much money, get a small quarter pipe, get a flat bar and get a manny pad and then let the creativity take over.  You don’t need these big, gaudy, ridiculous parks.”

Andrews looks to continue creating as many avenues as possible to bring the art of skateboarding into the community.

Go to top