News__ Time to Get Stoked

May 16, 2011 | By

Through action sports, Stoked empowers youth from under-served communities to achieve a more successful future

A lot of us grew up with the opportunity to engage in action sports. We surfed, snowboarded and even skated. But some kids aren't offered the same kinds of opportunities. Enter Stoked.

Stoked was started by two snowboarder/surfer/skater dudes--Steve Larosiliere, a snowboarder and skateboarder and Sal Masekela, a surfer and skater, host of ESPN's X Games and  prominent figure in the action sports community. The same kinds of guys we grew up hanging out with--these guys went on to do great things for their community. Stoked gives kids the opportunity to go surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding. They have an after-school skateboard building program, where kids build and design their own boards, as well as an action sports photography workshop.

"Action sports encourage healthy risk-taking, perseverance, and resiliency," Kate West, Stoked's Outreach Coordinator says. "Hard work is necessary for success in action sport." West has been working with Stoked since December 2009, and believes action sports "are the ideal framework for self expression, creativity, communication, and the development of interpersonal skills."

Coming up on May 25th, you have an opportunity to get involved with this awesome initiative. Stoked will be hosting their annual Stoked on Spring auction and fundraiser at the Drive In in New York. There will be a silent and live auction of artwork from artists like Wyatt Neumann, Thomas Murphy, Craig Wetherby, Julia Chiang and Alessandro Zuek Simonetti, and DJ Neil Armstrong will be spinning. All proceeds will support Stoked's action sport youth development programs. "It is a very fun event and completely different than other fundraisers," West says. "There is great energy at the event. Everyone is there to celebrate Stoked and its mission to empower youth through action sports."

We caught up with Kate to talk about Stoked on Spring, how great her job at Stoked is, what the organizations is all about and how you can get involved.

What's the one thing people should know about Stoked?

Stoked is an action sports youth development organization. We use action sports as a platform to positively influence under-served youth. Stoked is an innovative youth development program that is committed to providing new experiences, support systems, and opportunities for our youth. Stoked is much more than mentoring or after school programs, it is a community and culture, which will hopefully remain with these kids for the rest of their lives.

What's your favorite part about your job?

The people I meet and work with. The Stoked community is very unique. It is made up of enthusiastic, creative, and active people who want to give back to their community by sharing their passions.

How can people get involved?

The Stoked community is always growing. We are looking for volunteers and mentors! You can apply on line through our website.

What's the best part about the Stoked on Spring event?

The crowd and the art. The Stoked community is a really fun crowd, and the art we were able to secure for this event is really exciting. A great addition to this year's event are skate decks that were hand built by teens in our Stoked Plus: After-school Skateboard Building program. Woodward Gallery arranged for five of their street artists--Matt Siren, Moody, Darkcloud, Kenji Nakayama and Royce Bannon--to create original works on these decks. You can check them out on flickr here.

What's the importance of working with artists for Stoked?

Creativity and style have always been at the core action sports, from the creation of new sports to mastering new tricks. We encourage our youth to embrace the creative culture of action sports. I think artists are attracted to that and understand that. Also, many of the artists we work are skaters, surfers, and snowboarders.

Some of the action sports you encourage are sports that some in the past have warn their kids about, what's the reason for that?

I think action sports as being 'bad' is a slightly outdated view. We believe that these sports engage youth that might not be engaged in traditional programs. Surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding go beyond sport - it is about new experiences, places, challenges and relationships. Also, many of the kids we work with would never have the opportunity to participate in these sports if it weren't for Stoked.

What's been some of the most fun outings/experiences with the kids?

I love our surfing program in the summer at Rockaway. There is nothing like helping a kid catch his or her first wave.

Purchase tickets for Stoked on Spring and find out more information here.

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