The Youth and Teen Program Director at Camp Pendleton said this year's "Day for Kids" was the best ever! All the credit goes to Zac and Lyle. They were amazing. There were a lot of other attractions for the crowd of what I am guessing was 4 or 5 hundred including a portable climbing wall, a paintball shooting gallery, bouncy houses and numerous game booths, but the skate plaza the guys put together was by far the most popular. It was on a basketball court right at the entrance. For a lot of folks, that's as far as they got all day.
The kids started showing up as soon as the obstacles were in place. The manager, who turned out to be a world-class DJ, told us they were kids who hadn't been up before noon on a Saturday since Christmas. He had spread the word that there would be a skate park. The kids came in droves. There were little guys, a few girls, a number of teenagers and even a one or two young Marines - all skating together and having a blast. I was surprised at how good they were. Lyle said he thought a couple of them were better than him. They weren't, but he made the kids bust a few buttons by saying so.
Both Zac and Lyle were great with both the kids and their adult leaders. It was fun to see the looks on the kid's faces as they got encouragement and praise from the pros. It was pretty much a free-for-all for the first hour or so. Then our "DJ" got just about everyone at the party gathered around for the demo. Team FreshPark didn't disappoint anyone. Zac did progressively longer "Jumps for Jesus" and finished with a giant Olie over about 6 kids with the Director at the far end of the line.
The demo just got the kids pumped up even more. It probably didn't hurt that they were "amped" on free cotton candy and snow cones. With the music blasting and the DJ doing a running commentary on the kids like they were on ESPN, everyone could feel the energy. I heard a ton of parents and youth program leaders saying, "we gotta have something like this!" I talked to a few of the higher-up leaders who shared some challenges with post attitudes, but skateboarding has a lot of veryenthusiastic supporters now.
The day ended with a contest our guys put together with the help of the DJ once again. He got the crowd worked-up like it was a cage fight. They divided about 40 skaters into two groups who took center stage for about 5 minutes per group hoping Zac and Lyle would choose them for a final skate-off. The final four just might have been more entertaining than Zac. A little, bullet-proof 13 year old was the clear crowd pleaser. Zac and Lyle agreed and he won the grand prize. What made it really cool is that one of his rivals was his older brother. It was especially fun to see this kid bust a smile that brought the house down when Zac raised his arms in triumph.
Not a soul missed the magic of this day. I'm sure good things will come of it.