Kids shred Vail ramps for a day
VAIL – Kids laughed and talked excitedly as they carefully rolled up and down a large skateboard ramp. For many, it was their first time skateboarding. “My parents work a lot,” said Binny, a summer camper. “I never get a chance to do all these things.” Kids from low-income families, some of which are in legal trouble, got a chance to skateboard for a couple of hours Thursday thanks to this summer’s six-week-long Buddy Mentor Program. The goal of the program is to keep unsupervised kids from getting into trouble and to encourage them to stay in school, said Narda Reigel, the program’s director.”We’re just trying to teach them healthy, happy lifestyles,” said coordinator Tina Ellison.
In addition to skateboarding, the campers have learned about flying planes at the Eagle County Regional Airport, hiked the local forests to learn about pine beetles and gone rafting. “It’s to let them see different perspectives of life and to give them hope for the future,” said Reigel, who asked that the kids’ last names not be published. The program is a part of the Resource Center of Eagle County, a 25-year-old nonprofit organization that gets its funding from grants and private donors. For skateboarders who volunteered their time as mentors, it was a day to promote their sport, they said.”Half of these kids never even touched a skateboard until this morning, and they are all pumping around and having fun,” said Carl Shepard, a mentor for the day and an employee at The Board Room, which closed to help the campers learn how to skateboard. “It took about an hour, and then they got it.”
Nick, a camper, had never skateboarded on ramps before, and the experience made him “want to be a pro,” he said. “I like how they try to let us have fun so we’re not sitting at home all day playing video games or doing something useless,” Nick said.The program helps mentor Kristin LeFevre to be a positive role model and to let loose the 10-year-old in her, she said.”It’s just awesome to come out here every day and see how excited they get,” LeFevre said.Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.