The Ann Arbor Skatepark’s motto is “Dream it. Build it. Skate it.” It took years of dreaming to see the 30,000 square foot maze of hills and valleys finally be built in 2014. Now for the ‘Skate it’ part. I pass the skatepark off Maple Avenue multiple times a day. During the summer months, and even in winter, there are people skateboarding. I would say it might even be the busiest park in Ann Arbor! It is definitely more common to see groups of boys skating but the park’s board is trying to change that with their All Girls Skate (AGS) instruction. Nina Juergens, one of the organizers of AGS, remembers sitting on the sidelines as a young girl watching her brothers skateboard and she wants to change that for girls in Ann Arbor.
All Girls Should Skate
Due to generous support from the Community Foundation, All Girls Skate has been running for the past two years to teach girls to skateboard! The skatepark board wanted to create programming to provide free instruction to girls and women. Nina Juergens shared that, “We wanted to make it so that the girls can participate and be their own superstars. It’s grown like crazy and it’s really a lot of fun.”
All Girls Can Skate
All Girls Skate instruction, for all experience levels of experience, runs from 9-11am every 2nd and 4th Sunday through September. “We hold it at a time when it’s usually pretty empty. They have the full two hours to use a lot of the park, and to use it without anyone in their way. We encourage them to make friends with the other girls so they have someone to skate with,” said Nina. Tameka Gallien leads the group and the class is a mix of instruction and skating. They have a few decks and helmets for those who don’t have the equipment yet or just aren’t sure if they will enjoy skating.
It’s For All the Girls
In addition to on-site class equipment, the Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark are pleased to offer financial need youth scholarships for equipment and transportation to use the skatepark. Applicants who are 7-17 years old, live in Washtenaw County, and qualify for free or reduced lunch in AAPS, are eligible to apply. Each award includes a skateboard, helmet, and other protective gear, if available (+bus passes for 12-17 year olds). For answers to scholarship question, contact Josh Meisler, Josh@a2skatepark.org.
And, Juergens mentioned, she has seen a few mother-daughter teams show up for the class. “Girls shouldn’t be missing out on all the fun”, said Nina. “No commitment, no cost for anything, you can borrow everything, you can always just come by and watch. Come and see what you think. We have a lot of parents that will come and bring camp chairs to watch. Just show up and see what’s happening.”