‘Skateboard-a-thon’ coming up Saturday

The Kiwanis skate park project is looking to get a big fundraising boost this Saturday afternoon when a “skateboard-a-thon” is held at the ’52 Canadians Arena.
“It’s been great,” said Gord McQuarrie, owner of Skates and Blades and the adult rep on the youth committee that’s been organizing the skateboard-a-thon, which will run from 2-4 p.m.
He noted a high turnout is expected as the community’s co-operation with skateboarders—mostly drawn from 10 district schools—being able to collect pledges has been very good.
“The principals have been fabulous, letting us have a minute of their time to promote this,” said McQuarrie. “Some have even called down classes one by one and let us explain what we’re doing.”
“We’re looking at getting 400 kids,” said Kiwanis Club member Steve Maki, who’s spearheading the entire skate park project.
“It’s hard to say for sure, but there should be hundreds and hundreds of skateboarders from the schools out there doing this,” he added.
McQuarrie noted it’s mostly kids in the Grade 4-8 range who have been out getting pledges, but students up to Grade 12 also have participated.
Participating schools include all the local ones except Alexander MacKenzie, as well as Alberton Central, Donald Young, and Crossroads in the district.
While previously, Saturday’s event simply was going to entail district skateboarders doing laps around the arena walkway, McQuarrie noted the Kiwanis Club has arranged to free up ice time and so family members of participants are encouraged to come out for a public skate.
“We want everyone to come out, you know, if only to support the theory as a whole,” he said.
While it’s tough to say how much the ’boarders have been getting in pledges prior to the event, Maki is confident it could be a significant step towards reaching the $300,000 goal needed to build a 13,000 sq. ft. concrete park—which resembles a bowl-like, empty swimming pool—at a site near the Memorial Sports Centre.
Maki previously has said if the skate park committee was to exceed that total, the extra funds would be used to make an even bigger and better facility here.
All skateboarders will get free pop and chips for participating Saturday. And the top 10 pledge-getters will get a skateboard each, which McQuarrie has acquired for incentives.
An 11th board may be drawn as a door prize.
As reported in Monday’s Daily Bulletin, it’s looking to be “a good week” for the skate park initiative as local Canada Safeway employees announced they’ve chosen to adopt the project as its charity for 2003.
Staff voted over the weekend to adopt the charity, choosing it from a total of 13 submitted by area organizations and service clubs.
“It’s definitely a good choice,” assistant manager Cory Delbridge said Monday morning, adding the vote was “very much in favour” of the skate park.
“With the Kiwanis Club behind the project, the support will be there, the volunteers will be there,” Delbridge added. “But I definitely want to thank all of the organizations who put their name in.”
“I think it’s great,” Maki said of Safeway’s decision. “It’s good to see the community buying into the skate park project.”
Maki noted he’s expecting to have no problems finding skateboarders and their parents to volunteer at fundraising events.
“That’s fabulous,” agreed McQuarrie. “It’s good for the kids. If they can get involved and put in the time, like they have been, they’ll feel better about it when it’s finally built.”
  Delbridge said there’s a “distinct possibility” Safeway will start selling tickets in January for a raffle, where the top prize will be $100 a week in groceries for a year.
The local store has a track record of raising more money for its selected charity with each passing year—and even a reputation as the top fundraiser among Safeway stores in western Canada.
Staff and volunteers raised $55,123.53 for the “Community Chest” this past year.