On June 24th, Central Alberta Skateboard Association and Academy Skateboard Collective hosted a family event at Glendale Skatepark to help reestablish the park as a safe space for all users, regardless of background, culture or ability. Skateboarding builds community.Read More
In life, we often find synergies between the arts. Skateboarding and music seem to be forged in a similar fire and at times inextricably linked. On April 21st Reuben and the Dark will be playing a show at Bo's Bar and Stage in Red Deer Alberta, with all profits going to support the work of Academy. The money raised will go a long way in getting boards into the hands of youth who need them and initiating programs in their communities.
Calgary's Reuben and the Dark is a collection of five multi-instrumentalists and vocalists led by Reuben Bullock. The group makes chilling, emotive folk and soul driven by dark, introspective lyrics that explore the duality of misery and joy. Boasting a rare chemistry between all members across western Canada, Reuben and the Dark has emerged organically from Canada's stellar independent scene on the strength of often anthemic compositions that translate the language of emotion into song with haunting clarity.
Academy is grateful to work with such talented artists using their voices to give back to their communities.
Here's a video of Reuben skating the streets of Calgary shot by the talented Mathew Allen
With a new year comes the idea of new possibilities. That somehow the changing of numbers opens doors that had not already existed or at least had not been realized. The truth is that regardless of the time of year possibilities are always around us and seeing them requires the openess to look. Perhaps the thought of another trip around the sun brings just that.
2017 for me signifies the beginning of a movement, one that has existed for decades but has been reconsidered in a myriad of contexts. It's the idea that community, well being, connectedness and common purpose is what motivates many of us as and drives human behaviour. Sadly, marginalized communities face barriers that separate them from these ideals. Instead, feelings of hopelessness, disconnection, distrust, and dissention fill the void. As Larry Brendtro and Martin Brokenleg have explained in their book “Reclaiming Youth at Risk”, these are the “adult-wary” youth of today. I will push it further and say that these are the “relationship weary,” those broken down by trauma and circumstances that have stripped them of their ability to form positive bonds. This lack of connectedness leads to countless issues and places these populations at greater risk. Therefore, re-forming connection through positive relationships has become the only answer.
Over the past decade spent working with youth, children and families, I have had the opportunity to encounter those dedicated to forming positive relationships with those living on the fringe of the mainstream. Educators, caregivers, outreach workers, volunteers and peers not phased by what is labelled as “maladaptive” behaviour and see individuals for their desires rather than their deficits.
In 2017, Academy is attempting to create bridges for those working within communities of marginalized youth. Skateboarding has always been a bridge that has brought renegades and rebels together with the purpose of seeking out new and meaningful experiences. It has been a universal language that discredits the constructs of race, class and sex and instead, validates individuality, creativity and self direction.
I believe that the values held in the larger skate community can and will impact the way “we” look at traditional education, outreach and mentorship. As it creates connection through shared ideals, it also provides a platform to push for positive personal and collective change.
Academy is a movement: to push with a purpose.
Skateboarding has and always will be a vehicle that brings community together. Connections are made and friendships last as individuals share common ideals. A HUGE shoutout to The Skateroom for supplying fresh boards for the students of SkateClass and even more for future projects. Another shout out to Jim Thiebaud and DLX dist for sending up 25 sets of wheels and trucks to help assemble boards being sent out to Ahousaht First Nation's Reserve in support of the amazing work that NewLine Skateparks and the Get on Board Crew is doing with youth on Canada's remote West Coast.
Life is better with skateboarding in it.
A beautifully shot piece on the amazing work Skateistan is doing in Johannesburg. The opportunity to break the chains of the past and heal and inspire a future genration for staff like Daniel is nothing short of Inspiring. I had the pleasure of getting to know Daniel personally. He exudes a joy that can only be found on the other side of hardship and he seems dedicated to pass it on to others.
Check out what a global community of like minded youth and adults can do in the world...
This August, I had the pleasure of spending several days with Daniel witnessing the work that he and the organization Skateistan are doing for the children of Johannesburg. The impact it had on me was profound. I saw evidence that skateboarding builds bridges that close the gap between race, class and gender. A full post on my experience in South Africa coming soon...
For some of us, public education was a hoop to jump, a hardship to persevere, and at worst, a prison we were forced to attend for a large portion of our developmental years. We weren't adverse to learning in fact, we spent hours learning on our own. So where was this aversion coming from? Dr. Tae's theories ring true to what I now know as an educator. It's time to rethink school, engagement, and the assessment of children's learning. Is it possible that the majority of us skaters growing up knew this all along.
For decades, skateboarders have learned to progress and adapt. Not driven by an outside force, but by an intrinsic desire to move forward. On the surface a skateboarder may want to look cool, be accepted by a group, or get the attention of the opposite sex. In truth, if a skater's engagement is solely based on these attributes they will not be skating for very long. The nature of skateboarding is that you must have a desire to progress and fail repeatedly to do so. Resiliency has become the prerequisite.