Get On Board Empowering Youth One Board At A Time

Photos By Ron Pogue

Get on Board is a Comox Valley based registered non-profit organization which uses board sports-surf/skate/snow and SUP to develop social skills, self-confidence and goal setting in youth. Get on Board (GOB) helps youth connect to their schools and community through provision of organized teaching and learning programs, advocacy and outreach. The very nature of board sports: physicality, creativity, courage, and self-discipline help youth develop life skills.

Through the development of youth mentors GOB will encourage board activities: Surfing/Stand Up Paddle Board and Snowboard camps, half pipe and longboard training and construction, art and graphic design, competitions and demos to instill in youth a sense of fun and confidence. GOB is focused on inclusivity and access in developing both female and male participation and leadership in board sports.
Over the past three years GOB and the East Vancouver based long board company, Landyachtz have been building a friendship with the people of Ahousaht First Nation on the remote Island community of Flores Island (40 minutes by boat from Tofino). Skate lessons, surfing and board making design have been shared. This year under the guidance and support of Ahousaht First Nation, Landyachtz and Spectrum Skateparks, GOB will be participating in the construction of a skate park in Ahousaht.

GOB will encourage and support half pipe construction with schools and community groups throughout Vancouver Island. In that regard GOB is partnering with the Village of Cumberland by delivering a half pipe to the Village and encouraging the development of mentors through lessons and get-togethers. GOB views the half pipe as a social circle where other activities can be developed. These activities include (but are not limited to): fitness warm up activities and discussion of fitness in general; artistic activities such as graffiti and tagging of the ramp, musical activities i.e. Dj mentoring and other cultural activities including First Nations teachings and environmental awareness.

In addition to the use of the half pipe, longboard skateboards and helmets will be provided at gatherings. Long boarding is a more inclusive activity where skill acquisition is attained more quickly.

GOB will offer support through skating, including day trips to skate parks and board building to recovering addicts in its rolling to recovery program.
At Forbidden Ski Lodge a graffiti gallery of immense beauty has emerged on the walls, rusty parts have been collected like archaeological remains waiting to be transformed into rails and grinds, and cement slabs have been jig saw puzzled into skate ramps. GOB will advocate for preservation of this imaginative transformation and foster further development of the skate park at Forbidden.

Skateboard graphic art and design is an art form unto itself. The transformation of deserted or derelict urban spaces into skate parks is guerrilla art and architecture in action. GOB recognizes the artistic and cultural milieu around board sports and seeks the development of artistic projects in conjunction with mentoring artists and artist spaces.

Like a wave built from collective energy GOB has been blessed with like-minded, creative and hardworking individuals who endeavour to encourage the best in our youth. Board culture reminds us of the importance of unbridled creativity, and how innovation is shaped by people pushing boundaries despite setbacks and restrictions. Boarders are outsiders who seek a sense of belonging but belonging on their own terms. The tension created between youth, necessary rebellion and the existing structure is what gives birth to new ways of seeing the world and new modes of expression and ultimately allows youth to be free at heart and in spirit.

For more information or if you care to donate to our programming visit www.gobyouth.com




Category: Volume 4