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Empowering Innisfail youth with positive skatepark culture

Four-day workshop in May aims to create an inclusive environment for the young
MVP Innisfail skatepark 2020
The town is hosting a free Skatepark Ambassador Training workshop at the Innisfail Skatepark on May 8, 9, 15 and 16. File Photo/MVP Staff

INNISFAIL – The town officially opened its million-dollar Innisfail Skatepark 18 months ago and now it wants to create an even more amazing facility, a place always building a positive inclusive environment for today’s youth.

For two weekends in May, the town is hosting a free Skatepark Ambassador Training workshop. It is being promoted by the town as being the first training of its kind ever offered in Canada.

The four-day event is being held at the Innisfail Skatepark from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 8, 9, 15 and 16. It is offering certificate instruction to youth and young adults between the ages of 13 and 25. The certificate is endorsed by Canada Skateboard. Prizes will be given out throughout the course of the training.

“It is a learning experience. They will get certified,” said Kane Williams, the town’s recreation program coordinator. “We are really excited that we get to offer it to the community.”

While one component of the four days of training will focus on skills and safety, young participants will also be shown something far removed from the actual skateboarding sport that can be even more valuable - how to identify and effectively resolve peer to peer conflict when they are at the skatepark.

To get the messaging right on how best to do that, the town has retained the services of Calgary-based Academy Skateboard Collective (ASC), a non-profit outreach organization that operates under the belief that skateboarding is a successful vehicle for social change and building relationships.

ASC has a mission to connect marginalized populations to their communities by providing mentorship, training, and support, through school-based skateboard programming and outreach.

“This will be the first time that skateboard training like this is offered. They have a history of working in schools and doing different mentorship stuff in a school-based model,” said Williams.

“Since the skatepark opened it has been an amazing space and we’ve seen incredible use of it, and a great variety of use. But there were some issues cropping up. There was some bullying we heard about,” he added. “We wanted to try and come at it with a different approach.

“What we are trying to do is to get some people on our side who can really help us build up a great positive culture at the skatepark.”

Anyone interested in becoming a skatepark ambassador through the four-day workshop must register through the town.

Successful applicants will be introduced to the skatepark environment. They will be taught top-level skills for safety, injury prevention, concussion awareness and what to do in the case of an emergency.

“But it really is all brought back to how you can make a great positive inclusive space for as many people as possible,” said Williams. “We’re hoping a lot of these people are going to be role models, and people that others are going to look up to, and if they can see positive behaviours being demonstrated, they are more likely to do those themselves.”

For more information about Academy Skateboard Collective go to the organization’s website at

To learn more about the upcoming Skatepark Ambassador Training workshop and how to register, call Williams at the town at 403-227-3376 ext. 217, or email at

Johnnie Bachusky

About the Author: Johnnie Bachusky

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