Skating for an excellent adventure

Kids from River Wards PAL cen­ters were among those com­pet­ing last Fri­day for a skate­boarder’s dream ex­per­i­ence: a chance to work with pro skater and Philly nat­ive Chris Cole.

Just be­cause they aren’t world-renowned skate­boarders doesn’t mean they can’t skate with one.

About 50 kids from 10 Po­lice Ath­let­ic League branches around the city met at Car­mella Play­ground, 2100 Wakeling St., on Fri­day, Aug. 24 to skate for a chance to spend three days with pro­fes­sion­al skate­boarder Chris Cole.

Cole, in col­lab­or­a­tion with Pennsylvania ac­tion sports fa­cil­ity Camp Wood­ward, worked with 30 PAL kids last year at the camp in a weeklong, all-ex­pense paid dream skat­ing ex­per­i­ence.

This year he’ll do the same with 15 PAL kids over three days from Sept. 21-23. Cole, who is ori­gin­ally from Phil­adelphia, calls the ex­per­i­ence “Chris Cole’s Ex­cel­lent Ad­ven­ture.”

To win a spot on the trip, PAL kids worked on vari­ous skate drills and demon­strated their tech­niques that Fri­day. PAL and Camp Wood­ward rep­res­ent­at­ive were on hand to as­sess.

One par­ti­cipant was Jer­aldo Aponte, 13, of Brides­burg, who said he’s been skate­board­ing since Decem­ber.

“I wasn’t feel­ing con­fid­ent [at first] about do­ing tricks. I was watch­ing the oth­er guys do­ing bet­ter tricks than me,” he said. “But then I was jump­ing in, try­ing new things.”

He said those who win a chance to go to the camp aren’t ne­ces­sar­ily the best skaters, but are the most con­fid­ent, help­ful and en­thu­si­ast­ic.

Aponte said the oth­er PAL kids par­ti­cip­at­ing that day led him to be­lieve the camp ex­per­i­ence would be a chance to bond with oth­er skaters.

“Every­one’s really nice, really help­ing each oth­er out,” he said. “Even the little guys, we help them out.”

There were skaters as young as 7 or 8 par­ti­cip­at­ing that day.

Aponte said he learned a few new tricks at the play­ground that af­ter­noon, and knows he’d learn even more at camp.

“I think if I go, it’ll be good prac­tice,” he said. “I’ll be a bet­ter skater.”

Po­lice of­ficer Frank Rivera of the Har­rowg­ate PAL said in or­der to win a shot at the camp, PAL kids could write a short es­say ex­plain­ing their in­terest. He agreed with Aponte on how skaters should be chosen for the ex­per­i­ence.

“I think they should pick them for not be­ing shy, [dis­play­ing] team­work, get­ting along and hav­ing a pos­it­ive at­ti­tude,” he said. “We want to send our best kids to rep­res­ent PAL.”

He said PAL would con­tact the win­ners in the days fol­low­ing the Car­mella Play­ground event.

Dave Metty, a fa­cil­it­at­or of “Chris Cole’s Ex­cel­lent Ad­ven­ture” at Camp Wood­ward, said that with five in­door and sev­en out­door skate parks across 400 acres, Camp Wood­ward is the largest ac­tion sports train­ing fa­cil­ity in the world. At the camp, par­ti­cipants in Chris Cole’s pro­gram will sleep in cab­ins and en­joy free meals and oth­er amen­it­ies like go-karts and swim­ming pools.

“We’re not out here to find great skate­boarders, we’re out here to find people that really love skate­board­ing,” he said.

Metty ex­plained that while grow­ing up in Philly, Cole couldn’t af­ford to at­tend Camp Wood­ward. Once he went pro, he began to fi­nally work with the camp.

“It was his dream, and it came true,” Metty said. “He told the camp, ‘I can share this with the people from where I’m from, who are in the same boat I was in.’”

Metty said shar­ing the skate­board­ing ex­per­i­ence with Phil­adelphia kids is very im­port­ant to Cole.

“He’s got everything go­ing for him right now, and he still does this,” he said. “He was one of these kids at one point.”

To learn more about Camp Wood­ward vis­it­wood­

Star Man­aging Ed­it­or Mi­kala Jam­is­on can be reached at 215-354-3113 or at mjam­is­

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