Beehive Battle: A Skateboarding Showcase Fundraiser to Empower Youth
The non-profit and charity organization Pushing Ahead, which helps put skateboards in the hands of young would-be skaters, is the brainchild of life-long skateboarders David Edminster and Derek Robison, and is born out of a desire to inspire more Utah kids to explore the wondrous world of skating while giving back to the community. On Oct. 15, Pushing Ahead will host their most ambitious project yet, the Beehive Battle. The fundraising event will have never-before-seen obstacles and aims to bring together Utah’s best skaters from six different shops, and that’s in addition to prizes, raffles and games for all attendees.
To Edminster and Robison, skateboarding is much more than a hobby or a means of transportation. Skateboarding is a gateway to an entire community of comradery, as well as a way to gain confidence, cultivate perseverance, assess risk and improve confidence, which ends up also improving mental health while having a damn fun time doing it.
“For me, skateboarding is one of the most enjoyable, fun and stimulating things that I can do for myself, there’s also a really strong sense of community as well, and to feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself is a really powerful thing.” Edminster says. The duo wanted to share this profound experience with youth who may not have access to skateboards. Pushing Ahead provides kids with the opportunity to build their very own board that they get to then personalize and keep, but provides them with skating lessons, group research projects, and art activities.
“For me, skateboarding is one of the most enjoyable, fun and stimulating things that I can do for myself, there’s also a really strong sense of community as well, and to feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself is a really powerful thing.”
Robison, who is a school social worker and an after-hours therapist, started noticing the disparities in skating accessibility through his work at the Boys and Girls Club. Youth there would comment on his many skate brand shirts, and the conversations would follow a common pattern: Robison would ask the kids if they were interested in skateboarding or did skate, and they would often say they wanted to or did—when they had access to a board. They often reported they were going to ask for their own board for their next birthday or holiday gift. Your average quality skateboard costs about $100 according to Robison, which for some youth and their families, is out of reach.
“I wondered if there was a way to provide them with a skateboard that they could have on their own, because one thing about skateboarding is that the only barrier between you and being able to skateboard is the physical skateboard. A skatepark, and other things are beneficial, but ultimately all you really need is the board, and flat ground.” Robison says.
Robison reached out to Edminster, and the pair began brainstorming. They thought of the many board parts they grew out of or replaced, and how many of those perfectly good bits and pieces—trucks, wheels and decks— had ended up being wasted, trashed and gone to the dump.
“… one thing about skateboarding is that the only barrier between you and being able to skateboard is the physical skateboard.”
Over time, Pushing Ahead built relationships with local skate shops and were able to install donation boxes at their shops for old skate parts and take those parts to workshops, where they are recycled and donated to youth in lessons on how to build their own boards. Kids then get to construct, personalize and keep their very own board in this delightful and creative process.
“That’s kind of the other thing that Pushing Ahead is really about: we want to reuse the parts of the board that can be reused, and make sure that they aren’t just going to the dump but actually ending up in the hands of kids who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford them, or wouldn’t have access to them, so it’s a way to reduce the amount of skateboarding waste while also contributing something positive,” Edminster says.
As for Beehive Battle, Robison says, “Utah has some really amazing skaters, and it’s going to be a showcase of local Utah talent.” The pair hesitate to call their event a “competition,” because according to them, the skating community embraces all levels of talent or experience, and everyone who shows up, shows up for the love of skating. “I don’t know of any other communities like that, like you could be competing against these people, and when you land some gnarly trick, they are going to be stoked on it because skateboarding is awesome, and they just want to see cool stuff happen.” Edminster says.
“Utah has some really amazing skaters, and it’s going to be a showcase of local Utah talent.”
All funds raised from this event will be channeled back into the organization’s expansion, helping them reach their goals by hiring staff to work youth events with other organizations and ultimately further the core goal: getting more skateboards to young people. “… we’ve been able to do that year after year, and it’s a natural progression for us at this point, and that feels really good.” Edminster says.
Head over to Pushing Ahead’s website to buy tickets to the Beehive Battle, read about their story and mission and check out their volunteer opportunities. Follow them on Instagram at @pushingahead2017 to stay up to date on their skating shenanigans and projects.
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