How Can DSM Kids Try Skateboarding Without a Skateboard?
Last week Skate DSM launched a pilot program to give 500 free, high-quality skateboards and helmets to eligible kids in Greater Des Moines (DSM) regardless of their financial means. We hope to expand the program in future years.
Skate DSM is a nonprofit organization dedicated to growing and supporting the DSM skateboarding community. Our primary goal is to literally get kids on skateboards. That’s why we were so excited when Virginia Lauridsen approached us with an idea for what became the Get on Board Project!
"When I first went to the skatepark and saw so many kids not only riding their board, but watching from the sidelines, I thought we need to get as many kids as possible on skateboards," said Virginia Lauridsen. "I realized not every kid has that opportunity."
The Rising Popularity of Skateboarding
During the pandemic, participation in “board sports” (skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing) were among the fastest-growing sports in the United States. With skateboarding’s debut in the Olympics and the completion of the world-class Lauridsen Skatepark, skateboarding has seen an explosion of interest in DSM.
Skateboarding is a unique activity because it combines extreme physical exertion with precise muscle coordination and balance. It’s a great activity for kids' physical and mental health. Skateboarding gets kids off their screens and outside where they are encouraged to interact with one another, which builds vital social and interpersonal skills.
Through skateboarding kids can learn valuable life lessons such as determination and perseverance. To succeed at skateboarding, you must be willing to put in the work. When trying to learn new tricks you are going to fall down, often repeatedly. Successful skaters are the ones who persevere and learn from each failure, set back and injury. It’s really the only way a skater can progress.
Removing Barriers for Young Skaters
Our Get on Board Project will remove the financial barriers that can keep kids from getting the benefits of skateboarding. The Get on Board Project will get new skaters started on the right foot with the proper equipment from top industry brands from Dwindle Distribution such as Enjoi, Almost, Blind and Pro-Tec.
Apply for the Get on Board Project
To be eligible for the Get on Board Project you must be a kid enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade in Polk, Dallas or Warren counties, have a passion for skateboarding and complete an application online at skatedsm.org/getonboard. The first batch of helmets and skateboards will be handed out at an event on Friday, May 6 as part of a celebration commemorating the one-year anniversary of the world-class Lauridsen Skatepark. Additional events will be held throughout the summer and fall where kids will be fitted for their helmet and skateboard and taught basic equipment care and maintenance. Experienced local skaters will be on hand at each event to teach kids how to safely ride a skateboard.
Applications will be scored by Skate DSM board members based primarily on their eligibility and passion for skateboarding. To be awarded a skateboard and helmet at our Friday, May 6 event, applicants must apply by Friday, April 22. Recipients will be notified on or before Friday, April 29 if they will be included in the first round of distribution. Students can still apply after the Friday, April 22 deadline and eligible applicants not chosen for the first round of distribution will still be considered for future events.
This program is made possible by the leadership of Virginia Lauridsen and generous support from community leaders including: the Atlantic Bottling Company, Mollie Baker, Hicklin Power Sports, Christine Lauridsen & Rob Sand, Nix Lauridsen, Polk County Conservation, Mike Simonson, Subsect Skate Shop, Carl & Susan Voss, Zac Voss and Connie Wimer.
Stay tuned for more exciting announcements from Skate DSM, including summer clinics, contests and national events taking place in the region.
Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is a growing, vibrant community that offers the energy, sophistication, housing and attractions of a burgeoning city with a brilliant future. It’s also easy to visit with plentiful and affordable street and ramp parking options.
Norm Sterzenbach is the President of Skate DSM. Norm and others formed Skate DSM to ensure that skateboarding remain. Norm was a part of the Lauridsen Skatepark Cabinet. He started skateboarding in the mid-80s and has been an avid fan ever since.