Annual Epworth Skate Day takes off

June 29, 2011

A great way to get more young people to come to church is to close the doors and turn the parking lot into a temporary skate park. The Rev. Johnathan Baker of Epworth United Methodist Church on Holland Glade Road north of Rehoboth Beach has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to providing community activities for kids.

Epworth provides two Skate Days per year on Sunday afternoons where kids from as young as 8 to others in their late 20s can come and skate all the hot and sun-baked afternoon without attracting law enforcement types who don't like the rattle and hum of wheels and boards on pipe, wooden ramps and concrete.

The event is close to International Go Skateboarding Day, which is always held June 21, the summer solstice. Countries as diverse as China, Afghanistan, Colombia and Brazil have been participating in International Go Skateboarding Day for the last nine years.

"There are all types of people who love to skate," said 20-year-old Mike Rowe. "You see all races and ethnic groups out here and everybody gets along."

Kehan Waples and Malik Jarvis, two African-American young men, echoed the theme of diversity. Waples said, "All kinds of people just like to skate."

A quickly organized skate competition based on a one-on-one, follow-the-leader matchup described as the skateboard equivalence of "horse" in basketball was quickly organized. Away they went, head-to-head, doing tricks and having fun.

According to Susan Selph, there were 58 skaters at Skate Day; 20 of them were over the age of 18. The youngest skater was 6. The bulk were between the ages of 11 and 16.

"They came from Lewes, Rehoboth, Milton, Millsboro, Georgetown, Millville, Milford, Harbeson, Bethany, Ocean View, Dagsboro and Ellendale," Selph said. "We also had five kids who were here on vacation."

Contests and winners on the afternoon included Game of Skate: 14 & under: Alex Scott, Lewes, first place; Brennan Barwick, Lewes, second; Jake Caldwell, Rehoboth, third; 15 & older: Bo Polite, Lewes.

Best Trick Transition: 14 & under: Jake Bamforth, Lewes, first; Timmy Vitella, Milton, second; Sam Ratner, Lewes, third.

Best Trick Street: 14 & under: Jordan Stevenson, Lewes, first; Timmy Vitella, Milton, second; Alex Scott, Lewes, third.

High Ollie: 14 & under: Brennan Barwick, Lewes; 15 and older: Zach Gallagher, Lewes.

Contest prizes were provided by Liquid Board Shop, Alley Oop, Sierra Moon Surf & Sport, and East of Maui.


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