Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora joined 300 skateboarders and Trenton residents at the historic Roebling Wire Works building on November 2nd for a “First Push” Ceremony celebrating the launch of Freedom Skate Park’s Trenton Winter Skateboarding Program. The ceremony kicked off the first of 16 indoor skateboarding events Freedom is running this winter in partnership with the City of Trenton Department of Recreation, Culture, and Natural Resources. Freedom Skate Park is currently the only skate park in Trenton and the only indoor skate park in the state of New Jersey.
“Skateboarding is such an incredible activity because it not only keeps kids active and doing something positive with their time, but it also teaches critical life lessons. Lessons about thinking creatively, setting goals, and following through on those goals are valuable for any kid looking to grow. At the same time, bringing people together to skate helps foster our strong and diverse community,” said Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora. “Freedom Skate Park improves outcomes for young Trentonians. They help to provide the one-of-a-kind community that helps Trenton stand out. We are thrilled to partner with Freedom and look forward to watching this program grow over the years to come.”
Currently, there are no skate parks in Trenton and no public indoor skate parks in the entire state of New Jersey. This means there are no safe, legal places for youth and young adults in Trenton to learn the important lessons skating teaches and there is nowhere for skateboarders in New Jersey to practice their skills when it is too rainy, cold, or dark to skate outside.
Freedom’s Trenton Winter Skateboarding Program addresses both of these problems by providing a public, indoor skate park in the historic Roebling Wire Works building. This year’s program builds on Freedom’s successful pilot program last winter that attracted more than 450 visitors with an average attendance of nearly 100 skaters per event. That track record of success has helped Freedom attract high-profile partners for this year’s Trenton Winter Skateboarding Program, including The Sheckler Foundation, which selected Freedom as one of ten organizations nationwide to receive a “Skate for a Cause” grant, and Vans, which donated equipment from their “House of Vans” pop-up skate park in Philadelphia.
“Having our own skate park here in Trenton is such a blessing for skaters like me and especially for the youth. Even more than just a safe, fun place to skate, Freedom is a place where all the skaters in Trenton can meet up and build our local community,” said Kordell Garland, a Trenton resident who volunteered with Freedom last winter and now serves on the organization’s Executive Committee. “When I was younger I didn’t know anyone else who skated. Now I’m getting the chance to meet other skaters from Trenton and, even more exciting, I’m seeing younger kids have a place to start skating and build that community for the future.”
The “First Push” Ceremony, presented by Vans, 5th Pocket Skateparks, and NJ Skateshop, kicked off the 2019-2020 Trenton Winter Skateboarding Program. From November 2, 2019 through February 29, 2020, Freedom Skate Park will be open to the public every Saturday from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM. All events are free for Trenton residents and Freedom provides skateboards and helmets for participants to borrow if they do not have their own.
In addition to these “Open Skate” programs, Freedom will also partner with HomeFront, the Boys and Girls Club, and Sprout U to run monthly “Grom-A-Rama” Board Giveaway events. Drawing their name from the term “grom,” which is skateboard slang for a young skater, these events empower young people to have confidence in their own ideas and welcome them into the skate community while providing equipment for youth who may not be able to afford it. Each event accommodates up to fifty youth and include small group instruction as well as supervised free skate. At the end of each two-hour event, every child who participates gets to take home their very own skateboard. Freedom will run four Grom-A-Rama events during the 2019-2020 Trenton Winter Skateboarding Program, for a total of 200 boards distributed.
“Saturday’s event was the perfect way to launch this year’s Trenton Winter Skateboarding Program. We had skaters of all ages and backgrounds from all around Trenton and the tri-state area together pushing themselves to learn new tricks, celebrating each other’s successes, and bonding over their shared passion. And it all happened here in Trenton because we have the only indoor park in the state!” said Jake McNichol, Founder and Executive Director of Freedom. “This was an incredible day for skaters in Trenton and for the city as a whole. We are so thankful for the City’s support, and we look forward to building on last year’s success with another great winter of skating, music, art, and community.”