EVERETT — Ray and Sasha Flores, 11 and 9, are excited to learn to roll and turn on a skateboard.
Their mom registered them for the camp at Wiggums Hollow Park, 2808 10th St. in Everett’s Delta neighborhood. Neither have skated before, but they like rollerskating and enjoyed ice skating recently.
“Sasha doesn’t really want to, I want to (skateboard),” Ray said. “I want to try and do some tricks.”
The city of Everett supported the camp with $52,000 from its federal American Rescue Plan Act-funded Everett Forward grant program.
It mostly went toward buying about 100 skateboards and helmets from Pops Skateshop at 2826 Rucker Ave. That created about 90 spots for the camp, which already has 62 students enrolled who were measured and fitted for helmets and decks.
“We want to give every kid a chance to get on a board and do different things with it,” club director Robert Cannon said.
Michael Longoria, 45, is running the camp. He was in charge of something similar with Mukilteo YMCA and had a traveling event called the Psycho Skate Bus.
But with his kids at home and the pandemic, the bus got parked.
Then he found out about the Boys and Girls Club’s idea for a free kids skate camp from Pop’s Skateshop.
City staff and elected leaders awarded the money to the skate camp to encourage young people to get outside with friends.
“There aren’t a lot of programs that teach action sports,” said Tyler Chism, Everett’s placemaking and economic development program manager.
Students can sign up until spots are filled.
“Kids can jump in any time,” Longoria said.
Longoria agreed that kids need to be together again.
“After COVID, I think everybody feels like an outcast,” Longoria said.
The camp’s 15 instructors will teach them skating, mentorship and videography.
Shane Martin, 26, is one of the instructors.
On the first day at the club, he was in the equipment room with a camera documenting the helmet fittings. It’s one of the skills Martin aims to impart on the students along with video editing.
He’s a longtime friend of Longoria through skating, which he’s done since he was 6.
“Most of these guys I’ve known 10-plus years,” Longoria said of the other instructors. “We’re basically doing what somebody’s already done for us.”
Most of the instructors aren’t professional skaters. They have day jobs. Longoria works on the railroad with BNSF. Martin is a graphic designer. Another instructor runs a plumbing company.
“There’s more than one way to be pro,” Longoria said.
Pacific Northwest spring weather won’t be an issue because the camp doesn’t have set days every week. Instead instructors can be flexible and move it to a dry afternoon, or do video production, or play games inside the club.
“Luckily I’ve been doing this long enough to know what to do on rainy days,” Longoria said.
The plan is to have the camp culminate in a skate show featuring the students in August. Longoria dropped the name “Wiggums Wild’n Out.”