Imagine going on tour and skating all the great skate parks in Los Angeles.
You sport your pads and helmet, take your board and hang out with your friends. The next day, it’s off to another skate park. Then another. One day you go to Raging Waters — just to vary things a little bit. The next day, you’re ripping concrete with your pals doing ollies, dropping into bowls and defying gravity in ways that would make Isaac Newton jealous.
For seven hours, and $200 a week, kids in the city of Glendale’s Traveling Skate Camp got to do all this in three weeks starting Aug. 3, where skaters like Adam Porte keep an eye on the kids but also teach them the tricks of the trade
And the skate camp all started as a business plan for a class Porte was taking at Cal State Northridge. As a Glendale city employee, Porte was encouraged by his professor to introduce the concept of a traveling skate camp to his supervisors. They jumped on the idea and helped him come up with a price for the camp for that first year, which, Porte feels, was too high, even though the one-week camp filled up.
In 2006, the second year of the camp, the price was lowered, and kids came in droves once again to sign up. The camp was now two weeks long.
In summer 2007 and 2008 the camp was three weeks long. This summer, another week was added, but it did not fill up, so the camp was again three weeks. And the camp always fills up, Porte said.
“On Mondays and Fridays we go to different skate parks,” Porte said, the sound of kids doing their moves in the background. “Yesterday we went to Long Beach Skate Park and El Segundo Skate Park.”
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the kids skate at Verdugo Skate Park, across the street from Glendale Community College, and are treated to recreational activities, where they watch videos, have water balloon fights and do skateboard stenciling.
On Wednesdays, the kids take a break from skating and visit places like Raging Waters and Magic Mountain.
“The cool part about it, too, is that a lot of these kids, some of them know each other, but a lot of them don’t know each other,” Porte said. “They get put into a camp where they don’t know the other kids, so they’re meeting new kids, making new friends. I think that’s the really good part of it.”
It’s also fun to watch kids trying to outdo each other’s tricks — a “huge part of skateboarding,” Porte said.
“One kid steps it up and does a new trick; another kid steps it up and does a new trick,” said Porte, who started skating at age 11. “They just keep going in progression.”
Porte touts his camp as being one-of-a-kind and something he wishes he could have had as a kid. And talk to the kids about the mere possibility of skating other “highly-desirable parks,” as he puts it, and they get excited.
During the off-season, Porte works for the city as a special events coordinator, and coordinating the budget for the skate camp is one of his responsibilities. Planning for each year’s camp begins as early as January.
KIDS TALK BACK
The Glendale News-Press visited the city of Glendale’s Traveling Skate Park and asked kids: “What is the best thing about the traveling skate camp, and what is your favorite move to perform?”
“You get to travel to different places and just skate. My favorite move is just rolling in on concrete.”
THEO CHAMBERLAIN, 10
“I like how it travels. I like ollieing.”
ETHAN MURRAY, 10
"I really like the park, and pretty much all the ramps you go down; you get to meet your friends here a lot. I like to do wall rides.”
JO-Z HARB, 9
“I like that I get to talk to my friends. I get to show them the best tricks; I get to take their skateboards out of the bowl. I like to go down ramps.”
A.J. SMITH, 10
“I like just skating. I like airing out of bowls.”
SLATER KLAHR, 10