KALISPELL — A non-profit in Kalispell provides at-risk youth and their families a healthy space to be celebrated and strengthened through skateboarding.
Serious JuJu Skateboard Park is free and open to anyone searching for a sense of community, or even just a new hobby.
“We provide a place for families — youth to come — to enjoy a skateboard park. To enjoy each other, to find community,” said JuJu Skateboard Park Executive Director Rebecca Wilson.
Serious JuJu Skateboard Park opened its doors in the old Gateway Community Center in Kalispell in 2021, giving skateboarders a chance to ride come rain or shine.
“So, when the smoke season comes which we all know is going to come, but when the hot season comes as well, they have a wonderful place where they can get active, be in air conditioning, they’re not going to overheat, again they’re going to get that food and that support,” said Wilson.
Wilson says the park is completely funded through grants and community donations. A free meal is provided as well as a chance to bond with fellow skaters during every session.
“We have this unique area that we can bring them together and they can learn to communicate with each other through skateboarding and through talking with people that are here with them.”
The skatepark offers a range of different skate sessions from beginner to more advanced.
“This was the first park I ever came to and when I came through the doors all I was met with was positivity and encouragement, all the things you would want when you’re trying to learn stuff and you’re still a newbie,” said skateboarder Gage Goff who picked up the sport two years ago.
Goff picked up the sport in a hurry and is now volunteering his time as a skate coach. At just 16 years old, Goff is teaching lessons to the next generation of skateboarders in Northwest Montana.
“It’s really fun teaching because you feel a sense of pride whenever someone that you taught lands something that you were showing them how to do, you saw them struggle through it and you feel just like really good about it when you finally see them land it.”
One skater Goff is helping coach is 4-year-old Bodhi Sorbel. His dad Branton is grateful for the lessons being taught to his son.
“He’s enjoying it, his mom and I really didn’t skateboard so it’s kind of an anomaly, but he’s taken to it, so we are just going to feed it and see what happens.”
Wilson encourages community members of all ages to come to the skatepark and give it a try.
“We’ve got nothing to lose, we’ve got the skateboards free, we’ve got the helmets free, we’ve got protective gear, we’ve got amazing skate coaches, come down, check it out, just being in the energy in the room, it will excite you.”
More information on JuJu Skateboard Park can be found here.