What's New?

Annual Art Fair Merch Booth

I'm not even sure how many years we've been doing the Art Fair booth, but it must be nearing 10 years soon.  It is both a source of  agony and excitement for me as I own a hair salon that I close down for the fair days in order to make the booth happen.  It means I'm twice as busy at work, trying to get everyone in before my time off while trying desperately to get merchandise in on time with a never-ending slew of hurdles popping up and handling the promotional aspect of the booth at the same time.

And yet, I love it!  And I look forward to my time in the booth every year.  There is a definite buzz from the crowds, from talking to those who don't even know we have a park, those who use the park, informing visitors of our programming at the park and visitors who simply love what we do for the community.  It's another way to connect with people one on one and allow our fellow supporters to volunteer and be a part of our family.

Your purchases of A2Skatepark merch both online and at our booth, go to fund our maintenance endowment and improvements to the park to ensure the upkeep and the world class status of our skatepark with improvements for generations to come. There's no limit to the amazing dreams to improve our park in the future and we strive to make them a reality.  My  top priority dream?  Lights.  So that visitors can use the park in the winter months when it gets dark at 4:30.  We have a park that gets used year round from morning till night.  You'd be hard pressed to find any other park in Ann Arbor that gets that sort of year round heavy usage...

This is my last year on the Board of Directors for the skatepark non-profit after 8 years, and I feel a certain sadness about it.  On one hand, I could take my first Art Fair vacation in a very long time next year.  Or, I could stay and be a volunteer.  I'm leaning towards the latter

-nina

Who is Dave Tuck?

 

 

Photo collage by www.localchaos.org

 

Dave Tuck (1969-2013) was an OG Ann Arbor Skater. 

 

On Saturday, June 11th the Ann Arbor Skatepark will host the 3rd Annual Dave Tuck Skate Jam to celebrate the life and contribution of a one of a kind Skateboard Hero.  Here are a couple reasons why:

 

Dave comes from the old school DIY spirit and culture of hardcore skating.  Of discovering, draining, and riding abandoned pools.  Of seeing the world through the lens of the Skater’s eye: “Can it be ridden?  We’re gonna find out.”  Of pressure drops and boneless ones on the benches on the Diag.  Of finding wood and building ramps.  Legendary Ann Arbor spots like Hadley’s Ramp (actually in Ypsi), Fulmer street ramp, the Barn Ramp at Wes’ house, the Burns Park wading pool, and a bunch of others.  Of quarter pipes and launch ramps in the parking lot of Commie High.

 

Dave travelled all over, living out of his van or cars and hotels, those early missions to South Carolina, to Wisconsin, to Sarnia, skating and laughing and raging and inviting everyone back to ride our local spots.  And they came.  Then he moved to Colorado and did it all over again.  Real recognizes Real.  He rode snowboards and skateboards from Jamaica to Japan, from Alaska to Alabama.

 

Dave was a living link between the original sidewalk surfers and the new wave that became X-Games and public free parks like the one we build here in Ann Arbor.  Andy Mac, holder of more X-Games medals than anyone else in the world learned to skate vert from Dave.  Dave rode his way from being the little kid in the Local Chaos crew to being a General in the Arvada Army. 

 

Dave was a drummer.  He was a lover and a fighter.  He was an awesome dad and husband, and the kind of friend who would give you ANYTHING he had. Dave knew about Style.  Tuck kneed frontside airs and Reggae belts and duct tape. 

 

Dave lived the truth, his truth.  The Truth.  Dave died the way he lived.  The way he rode.  With passion, without compromise, with grace and honor and courage.  With his friends and family.

 

Dave Tuck Skate Jam raises money for Grind for Life and Strap in for Life.  Mike Rogers, the two-time cancer survivor and pro skater who founded GFL was a source of support and strength for Dave when he was sick.  So Dave, being Dave, figured that he would be a part of the solution too and with a couple buddies founded SIFL to continue the mission of service to people with cancer and their families up over the tree line.

 

But just as importantly, Dave Tuck Skate Jam is a celebration of life and love, of skateboarding as an Art of Living, and if we can throw down an event that Dave would be stoked for we’ve done our little piece of keeping Dave Tuck alive in our hearts. 

 

We hope you’ll be with us at Ann Arbor Skatepark on June 11th to speak his name and have a bunch of fun doing something good.

 

Check out these links to get a little more of the Dave Tuck story:

www.Localchaos.org

www.Strapinforlife.org

http://www.thrashermagazine.com/articles/rip-in-peace-dave-tuck/

http://juicemagazine.com/home/dave-tuck/

http://youtu.be/nOFlH61-HsA

 

 

 

 

On Scooters

Scooters are welcome at the Ann Arbor Skatepark.

When we set out on our mission to build the Ann Arbor Skatepark, we envisioned creating a welcoming place for the entire community. We're happy that we've mostly succeeded in that regard. Most warm days, the park is packed with skaters of all ages and genders. Groups of observers sit on blankets under the trees and lean against the fence along Dexter Ave., watching the action in the bowls. This is a strength of our skatepark; it's a visible, inviting location in a well-used city park. Families, especially, congregate under the trees and it's not uncommon for the younger members of those families to ride scooters. Skateboarding is an activity that requires a bit of natural ability and a lot of practice to gain the skills needed to fully enjoy the park. Scooters have a much lower barrier to entry, so they're popular among younger kids in particular.

Recently, there's been complaining among some skaters about scooters at the Ann Arbor Skatepark. We've had great support from a wide swath of the Ann Arbor community over the years, many of whom are now parents to scooter riders. We can't, and shouldn't, abandon those supporters and change the rules after two years of allowing kids on scooters to enjoy the skatepark. One of the missions of the Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark is to promote skateboarding. While it may seem that scooters fall outside this mission, scooters can be thought of as a gateway to skateboarding: some number of those kids on scooters will eventually get skateboards and continue their quests for fun on four wheels instead of two.

Parents: While the Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark welcome scooters to the skatepark, there are some common-sense safety rules and courteous practices to follow:

  1. The skatepark isn't daycare and it's not a playground. It's a highly-specialized place for practitioners to engage in specific activities. When you bring your young children, expect to be engaged with them, proactively directing them to safe areas. Also, kids without skateboards, inline skates, or scooters shouldn't run around and play in the concrete skating area when other skaters are around.
  2. When the skatepark is busy, it may not the best time for beginners to learn. Young children are quite unaware of what's happening around them, and when mixed with much larger skaters who are traveling at high speeds, the danger level increases dramatically for both your kids and the other skaters. Mornings tend to be the quietest times at the park and are the best times for young kids.
  3. Spend some time observing traffic patterns through the park before encouraging your young kids to congregate in any particular area. Areas that initally appear empty and safe may in fact be high-speed throughways.
  4. There are unwritten rules governing the skatepark. Even though it may seem chaotic and rule-free, there are systems for determining, for example, whose turn it is to drop-in to the bowls. These rules can be learned through observation or experience.
  5. If you aren't sure about something, ask one of the older skaters for advice. Many of the 30-and-over skaters are parents themselves and have the experience to help you and your kids make safe choices.

With a little bit of common sense and tolerance, we can all continue to make the Ann Arbor Skatepark the best park around!

Skate Houghton!

One of the great things about our success building the Ann Arbor Skate Park has been networking and strategizing with people in other communities who are on similar journeys.  Now that our park is done and raging on a regular basis, we want to continue to give attention and support to people in other communities who are doing their part to create the current second golden age of public skate parks.

Alex Aho, who was an early trooper for the Ann Arbor project, is now working hard with other folks from Houghton MI to get their park build.  Be sure to follow their progress and even get involved in the work.  You can find them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SkateparkHoton and on Instagram @houghtonmiskatepark.

We are also stoked to hear that Katie Noble Churchill and our friends on Mount Desert Island, ME, are ready to break ground on the first phase of their new park!   Check out their plans at http://www.facebook.com/MDI-Skatepark-Association, and add a visit to their park to your summer road trip itinerary!

If you’re reading this post we hope you will reach out and support these and similar efforts, and hit us up at info@a2skatepark.org and let us know about the public park project in your area!

 

Underexposed: A Women’s Skateboarding Documentary

I recently watched Amelia Brodka’s documentary, Underexposed, about women in skateboarding.  As she describes, “The film is not whiny, accusatory or full of finger-pointing. It is merely an examination of the current opportunities available to female athletes in action sports, particularly skateboarding.”

Ultimately the film encourages women and girls to start skating so that other women will see in the sport.  As the film shows, you will be hard pressed to find anyone who does NOT want girls to skate, but there is a pervasive unconscious myth that women are not wanted in skateboarding.  (Watch the film to find out how this myth is perpetuated).  Just seeing another girl skating is enough to start breaking down the “boys only” perception.  

We agree with the film maker and encourage women to skate.  We began our All Girls Skate (AGS) program in 2015 as way for women and girls of all skill levels to skate and form a community.  We are excited to continue AGS this summer 2016 and hope it will expose the place that exists for women in skateboarding.

You can watch Underexposed on Amazon Instant and iTunes.

 

Ann Arbor Skatepark 1st Annual Event

Join us Saturday, September 12th from 11-5 to celebrate our first year of being open.  This event raises funds to grow our maintenance endowment in order to not just keep the park maintained, but be able to make improvements over the years.

Much like the grand opening a year ago, we will have Pro skater demos, live music, contests, food vendors, retail vendors, raffles and a silent auction.

In keeping with the vibe of our ALL GIRLS SKATE, we have a sponsorship for the event from Hoopla and Plum Market.  Two of the pros coming in this year are Nora Vasconcellos and Sammaria Brevard, as well as up and coming Daniel Vargas.

Come out to enjoy and support our beautiful park while the weather is fine!

All Girls Skate 2015

We have a date for our first All Girls Skate club for the season!  The club will meet the second and fourth Sundays at 9am, starting June 28th.  This group is intended for girls of ALL ages who want to learn or develop skills as beginners and gain confidence to use all that our skatepark has to offer and we can supply a handful of decks and helmets to use at the events for those who don't have them yet. Tameka Galien, who did the very first AGS last year is returning this year and will lead instruction until October.

Interested? Join our facebook event here and we'll see you June 28th at 9am!

Keep on giving for the future of our park

Good news!  We have reached our original $100,000 goal for the maintenance endowment to ensure that the park stays well maintained and free to use for generations.  But what happens if we want to make improvements? Or we have a high maintenance expense year? At this year's annual meeting, our board has decided to continue to raise a certain amount yearly for both programming at the park as well as growing the endowment (which is held for us at the Ann Arbor Community Foundation) for any future improvements we may need to make.

So far, the Ann Arbor Skatepark has partnered with Hiller's Market Community Rewards and Amazon Smile for a small portion of designated sales to be donated to our park.  How do you make your purchase count?

Hiller's: donations are linked to your shopping card.  Log in to your Hiller's account, click on Community Rewards and choose "Friends of the AA Skatepark".  The will automatically made a donation quarterly based on sales of customers choosing our non-profit.

Amazon Smile: Simply go to smile.amazon.com and choose "Friends of the AA Skatepark" for your non-profit using your regular login for Amazon.  Products eligible for donation are clearly marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation”.  

Become a website sponsor:  We will be adding a page of A2Skatepark sponsors (with links to businesses) to our website very soon.  Interested in monthly, quarterly, bi-annual  or yearly advertising?  

Rates by pre-payment: 

Monthly: $20

Quarterly: $55 - save $5

Bi-annually: $100 - 1 free month

Yearly: $180 - 3 free months

Interested? Contact me: ninaATa2skateparkDOTorg

And as always, brick sales and merchandise right here on our website front page, click on ORDER to see whats new by way of branded merchandise to help raise funds and show your your love for the park. Our already completed bricks find a new home this spring when they move to a permanent location. We will also have a list of local stores carrying official branded merchandise in the soon to be "Merch" button at the top of the front page.

 

The end is near...

The end of the year, that is.

It means end of year donations.  It also means gift giving.  We have you covered on BOTH fronts.

We are trying to raise the last bit of our original maintenance endowment by the end of the year, so all future funds can go towards programming at the park.  

We are rolling out new merch in our online store for the holidays including baby onesies, pull over hoodies, trucker caps and other gift items making gift giving easy for the skatepark lover in your life. Check back often as new merch arrives.

We are also offering gift incentives for brick sales.  Bricks make a great gift for yourself, your business, family and friends - AND comes with a tax deduction.  Order by January 1st 2015 and see your brick installed in the spring.

Check out our online store at:

 

https://squareup.com/market/friends-of-a2-skatepark

 

Any problems? Email us: info@a2skatepark.org