"Skate like a girl’
Baileigh Wollam, 11, is learning how to beat the boys at their own game.
Wollam is part of the “Skate Like A Girl” program at Upward Athletics in Gypsum. The fledgling program, taught by staff member Paul Wertin, was developed in an attempt to get more girls into skateboarding, which is often seen as a sport for boys.
“We came up with the idea after several girls expressed interest but were intimidated by the boys,’ said Wertin.
The small class of girls is made up of a few beginners, some advanced skaters and visitors to the valley looking for activities for their children. In order to meet the needs of all his students, Wertin breaks the sport down into simple components including how to stop, turn and balance on a board. The smaller class size and the girls-only time in the skate park allows students to proceed in the sport at their own pace.
Wollam, a newcomer to skateboarding, has learned how to balance and coordinate on a board and will soon be adding more advanced ramp riding and tricks to her skateboarding repertoire.
“My girlfriends think skateboarding is stupid and just a guy sport, but it’s really a sport for everyone. It’s more fun than it looks,” said Wollam.
“It’s for anyone who wants to have fun,’ added Christy Buster,16, who has been skating for more than a year and hopes to become a professional skateboarder one day.
“I wanted to get better and I actually have,” she said.
Wertin said the challenges of skateboarding can help young girls learn life skills, saying that the skills being taught include confidence, mentoring, leadership and sticking with something even though it is difficult.
“Skating teaches perseverance and that you have to keep trying in order to get results,” Wertin said. “It sets kids up for success through the mastering of each new skill.
“They are learning about life, and that anything worth learning doesn’t come easy,” he added.
This story first appeared in the Eagle Valley Enterprise