Over 150 youth participating in City of Charleston and North Charleston summer camp programs spent a free day at the SK8 Charleston skate park recently as part of an initiative called Skate Forward.
Skate Forward was developed by the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission’s (CCPRC) non-profit partner, The Parklands Foundation. Supported by a $30,000 grant from The Speedwell Foundation, Skate Forward’s goal is to develop programs that give access and introduce the sport of skateboarding to low-income communities near the park, which is located in the Charleston neck area. The initiative’s first project was to partner with municipal recreation department summer camps to organize field trips to the skate park.
Campers who visited the park received free admission, lunch, the use of skateboarding equipment, skateboarding demonstrations and time to skate in the 32,500-square-foot park. Staff provided a park tour and skate stations to help the young campers experience the park and learn basic fundamentals of skateboarding.
“The Foundation is all about breaking down barriers that prevent people in the community from gaining access to parks and recreational activities like SK8 Charleston,” said Parklands Foundation Executive Director Tom O’Rourke. “The generous grant from the Speedwell Foundation will allow us to launch the Skate Forward initiative to get young people interested in the sport of skateboarding.”
The $30,000 grant was provided by The Speedwell Foundation, which was founded by Mike and Jenny Messner. The Speedwell Foundation also supported the construction of SK8 Charleston in 2016, when additional funds were needed to repair the land upon which the park was to be built. In addition to championing efforts to restore and expand public parks and green spaces in the nation’s cities, the Speedwell Foundation funds study abroad scholarships for students in Pennsylvania.
Skate Forward is part of The Parklands Foundation’s Pass It Forward Project. The mission of the Pass It Forward Project is to provide opportunities for the Charleston County community to access park facilities, programs and services. The Parklands Foundation identifies members of the community who encounter barriers to having access to park facilities, programs and services, and facilitates the collection of donations and goods, passing those resources on to community members. For more information, visit TheParklandsFoundation.org or call 843-640-5451.
SK8 Charleston opened March 3, 2017, with features including an 11.5-foot-deep pro bowl, a 7-foot-deep mini-bowl, a 200-foot-long snake course and a 315-foot-long street course. The park also includes a large viewing deck, a small skate shop, restrooms, seating and concessions. Owned and operated by CCPRC, SK8 Charleston is located at 1549 Oceanic St. and is open daily from 2-10 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $3 per skater/rider and $1 per spectator. The park is open to BMX riders only on Tuesdays. For more information, visit CharlestonCountyParks.com/Skatepark.