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Boys & Girls Club turns into a skate park

Camp will offer lessons and a place to ramp up the sport.

April 24, 2014|By Bryce Alderton
  • Pro skater Chad Tim Tim shows kicks off the edge of a ramp as kids from the Boys & Girls Club watch closely during kickoff celebration for a seven-week skate camp at the club.
Pro skater Chad Tim Tim shows kicks off the edge of a ramp… (Don Leach, Coastline…)

The outdoor basketball courts at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach served a different purpose for a few hours on April 17.

Instead of shooting hoops, kids were riding skateboards alongside employees from Irvine-based Element Skateboards Inc., showing off their tricks on the quarter-pipe and "pyramid" ramps at the club's main branch on Laguna Canyon Road.

The event kicked off the club's seven-week skate camp. Children have wanted a place and time to skate, and Element was more than willing to help provide staff to offer some education.

Skaters rode the quarter-pipe while Element skateboarders Levi Brown, Dylan Christopher and Chad Tim Tim glided along with the occasional aerial maneuver, during which the board rotates a few times in the air and the skater aims to land smoothly back on the board.

A few children stuck to the basics— standing securely on a moving board, for instance — while others attempted more daring feats like carving up the quarter-pipe. The club already had ramps, so it was just a matter of moving them into position.

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"The idea is to build self-esteem, self-confidence and get the kids outside," Boys & Girls Club program Director Faye Branscombe said.

Matt Ward, Element's marketing coordinator, echoed Branscombe's comment.

"Skateboarding is one of those things that you have to really want," Ward said, moments before he got on a board and cruised on the asphalt with kids following him to get a few tips.

"If you can get them riding, it's progress," Ward said.

Branscombe got wind of Element from Laguna Beach resident Sonya Ernst. Branscombe and Ernst walk together, and when Branscombe told Ernst about a skate camp, Ernst knew where to turn.

"I said, 'Wow, it sounds like a great thing for Element to get involved with,'" said Ernst, who called Element founder Johnny Schillereff.

"Johnny grew up going to the Boys & Girls Club, and he's such a loving, give-back person," Ernst said. "I knew he wouldn't say no if all the timing was right."

The camp, which is only for members of the club, costs $20 per child for the full seven weeks. It will run from 4 to 6 p.m. Fridays beginning April 25 at the Boys & Girls Club, 1085 Laguna Canyon Road. Beginners will ride the first hour, advanced skaters the second.

Whether Element participates in the camp hasn't been decided.

The club has some helmets and boards for kids who don't have their own equipment and provides scholarships if parents cannot afford the camp cost, Branscombe said.

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