August 14, 2017 will be the one year anniversary of Skate Rising. Since August of 2016 the girls have been meeting the 2nd Saturday of every month under the leadership of Skate Rising founder Calli Kelsay. I had the chance to check in with her and here’s what she had to share.
I can’t believe it has officially been one year! I am seriously in awe of everything that has happened and everyone that has helped the Skate Rising program grow and the amount of people that have been impacted through Skate Rising. – Callie
For those not familiar with Skate Rising, what’s Skate Rising’s mission?
THE SKATE RISING PROGRAM AIMS TO INSPIRE CONFIDENCE IN FEMALE YOUTH THROUGH SKATEBOARDING AND TO ENCOURAGE COMPASSION THROUGH COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECTS. THIS COMBINATION ALLOWS EACH GIRL TO RECOGNIZE HER ABILITY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE WITHIN HERSELF, HER COMMUNITY AND BEYOND.
In short I would say Skate Rising teaches, “Compassion through service and empowerment through skateboarding”
What inspired you to start Skate Rising?
I was inspired to create Skate Rising after seeing the positive life lessons that come with skateboarding arise in my own children. I saw my oldest two children, Aubrey and Kirra, push through fear, gain confidence, and learn to fall and get back up on their own two feet multiple times.
After seeing that I knew this sport/art form would positively impact other young girls if given the opportunity. We added the service element because service teaches compassion and the world will always be in need of compassionate, kind, strong women.
Although this program may have started as my vision, this program really took flight with the help of my close friend Nina Seibert, she happens to be the creative one behind the scenes. Also partnering with Exposure Skate, the large skateboarding non-profit, was also was a great fit for us. Without people like Nina, Amelia, and Lesli, this program would not be what it is today.
At each event there is an activity. Like the Commit to Kindness (anti-bullying) contracts at the very first Skate Rising and making cards for veterans at the June 2017 event – how do you think of the activities that are important to the community & of interest to the young girls?
We have specific topics to work with the girls on like; kindness, compassion, anti-bullying, welcoming new members to our community, believing in yourself, pushing through fear, and more! We decide who we can help based on the needs we know of at the time and then cater the theme. There are always a lot of people and groups that need help so, if we know about them we try to help where we can.
I have personally seen Encinitas grow as more girls come monthly. There’s also Skate Rising Phoenix now. How amazing that within a year there were two locations. Are there plans for more?
We are definitely open to growing the program nationally and internationally if the right opportunity were to arise. This program does take multiple volunteers with specific skill sets to run it and make is successful for everyone so we will always be cautious yet optimistic with opportunities that do come.
What else would you like to share about Skate Rising – from your favorite moment to your hope for the future?
Skate Rising has been such an amazing program to be part of. From the volunteers, partnering organizations, to the participants, and the recipients of our projects, it has been amazing to see how many people have been impacted in some way in such a short time. In fact, just in the past year over 2500 people have received assistance from our projects. Some of those that have benefited are refugee families, patients at Rady Children’s Hospital, victims of domestic violence, Veterans, and homeless individuals. To me this is everything. If I can have but a small part in helping the youth of today become the leaders of tomorrow then I feel extremely grateful for the opportunity.
Last month we had an event focused on empowering ones-self and pushing through fear, it was amazing what even five year old girls had to say at the end of the event. They shared how they had pushed through fear by going down a bigger ramp than ever before or how they had tried an ollie.
My hopes for the future would be that the existing participants will continue inviting more girls to participate, learn, and serve with them, the program grows to more areas and continues to advocate for those less fortunate. Just to see the positivity that has taken action has been very impactful for myself and my family.
Thank you Calli for taking the time to do this interview and for all the time you take to make Skate Rising happen and to mentor girls such as myself. You’re a huge inspiration to me & countless other girls on & off the board.
To stay up to date with all things Skate Rising give them a follow and if you can make it out to the Encinitas Community Skate Park the 2nd Saturday of every month from 9am – 11am to share in the fun or if you’re in the Phoenix, Arizona area check them out the third Saturday of every month from 10am – noon at 91 West Skatepark.