With some semblance of support coming from friends in Brazil, president of Jamaica Skateboard Federation (JSF) Steve Douglas is hoping more financial assistance will be forthcoming, particularly from a local perspective, to complete the erection of the Trench Town Boys’ Town Reggae Skatepark by mid-year 2021.
The JSF’s fund-raising campaign in the South American nation is being assisted by a few major skate parks, namely the Grito Skatepark and Cave Pool Skatepark in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
According to Douglas, the Grito Skatepark effort hosted recently was mostly used to raise awareness but brought in some well-needed funds in the process, while the second fund-raiser at Cave Pool was aimed at US$5,000.
“We raised a few hundred dollars last week, but the impact was much more than that because it brought about more support from the skate community in Brazil, which is good for us.
“So with Cave Pool being one of the hardest skate parks in Brazil, which attracts a lot of professional skaters daily, we are extremely honoured and grateful for the love and support from Brazil. Everyone in Brazil is ready to visit Jamaica and help us with sessions once the Trench Town Boys’ Town Reggae Skatepark is ready,” Douglas told the Jamaica Observer.
“So with that in mind, we continue to push for sponsorship so we can begin construction by February 2021 and complete the project by June. We have a few strong interested parties, but we await a final commitment,” he added.
The 18,000 to 25,000 square feet Reggae Skatepark project was first announced last year at an estimated cost of US$700,000 (about $94 million).
Once erected, Douglas foresees the skate park and sports centre being a catalyst for change in the Trench Town and Boy’s Town communities, and one which will improve Jamaica’s chances of Olympic qualification and more frequent participation at World Skate competitions.
That said, Douglas believes Jamaica’s development in the sport is well on point at present, as the country boasts immense potential to compete at the Olympic Games and develop numerous male and female professional skateboarders with branding and sponsorship.
“The country continues to make significant strides in the sport’s development, as skateboarding in Jamaica continues to grow rapidly despite our current situation. Skateboarding has become stronger across the island with active involvement from both boys and girls,” he noted.
“Skateboarding was expected to debut at the now postponed 2020 Olympic Games and it was recently announced that is was officially on the cards for the 2024 Games in Paris. I believe that Jamaica has what it takes to have a skateboard Olympic team standing in one of the podium positions when the time comes.
“So the Reggae Skatepark will play an important part in developing the skills of the young and upcoming skaters and prepare them for Paris 2024,” Douglas reasoned.
Meanwhile, the JSF, through the kind support of United States-based PB Accounting and Mama’s Love programme, organised by the Johnson Family, was able to gift 12 laptops to students in need to assist with their online classes, which have become the norm in this COVID-19 era.
This Douglas said underlines his organisation’s commitment to nation-building through education and sports.
“When the JSF received the call about the sponsorship, we were excited to assist in getting the children the laptops needed for them to continue their participation in school. With the help of the Ministry of Education, we were able to get the laptops to the students who were so excited,” Douglas shared.
“The sponsorship was for 10 laptops but we were fortunate and grateful that we received 12 laptops to support and encourage education for children in Jamaica. Each student is a future member of the JSF and they will start skateboard lessons in 2021,” he ended.