More than 55 youth and 30 adults attended the first meeting last Thursday of the Community for Lakes Area Skate Parks. The group hopes to build quality skate parks in the lakes area, encompassing skateboarding, inline skating and BMX biking.
The meeting's focus was to provide information about skateboarding among the community's youth. CLASP cited skateboarding as one of the most popular sports for ages 6 to 18 nationwide. The group seeks a safe and accessible area specifically designed for the sport, instead of having youth use public property.
The group is fighting the negative stereotypes attributed to skateboarding. "Get rid of the negativity, we are tired of being classified as druggies," said 10th-grader Rachael Fristedt. "We are really excited about this opportunity. We are being heard and seen -- supported."
By working with the youth and giving them ownership from start to finish, youth will take pride in the park and its maintenance will be important to them. Quality skate parks promote healthy physical activity, leadership, cooperation and creativity among youth.
CLASP encourages surrounding communities to participate in this venture. The Brainerd City Council and parks and recreation have given their support and approval to move ahead.
There are many ways to become involved. Volunteers of all ages and interests are welcome. Three volunteer teams have been formed. The Vision and Design Team will focus on skate park design, location and safety issues. The Outreach Team will work on promotion, marketing and fund-raising. The Skate Patrol Team will oversee and support the youths' efforts to ensure a safe and appropriate environment. Skate Patrol Team members must be 16 or older and will be trained volunteers.
For more information or to get involved contact Debbie Endres at 828-1167, Joel Forrest at 829-9312, Lisa Stawarski at 828-0842 or Jason Winch at 963-7513.
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