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Youngsters learn new tricks during week-long clinic

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POLSON – Children were finally able to get out and participate in a weeklong skateboarding camp last week after spending much of the spring at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 30 elementary and middle school-aged children participated in the week-long camp to learn the ins, the outs, the ups and the downs of the action sport. The skate clinic, which started on Monday, June 22, and finished on Friday, June 26, was sponsored by 7th Ave Skatepark in Polson.

Instructors Jesse Vargas and Loni Havlovick trained beginner and intermediate campers in the ways of basic skateboarding, BMX and scooter riding skills. The kids also learned trick fundamentals, skate park safety and etiquette. Safety measures included directions on where to stand and how to stay alert while at the park.

“This has been a blast,” said Vargas. “It’s incredible to see the participants go from absolute beginners to making leaps and bounds in their skills.”

Vargas and Havlovick worked to improve the skills of individual campers based on their experience level.

Beginners were introduced to the basics, including standing on the board, rolling down ramps and performing some simple tricks. The intermediate skaters learned how to control their skateboards and perform more complex tricks.

Havlovick said she enjoyed her experience at camp: “I really like seeing the progress each kid made during the week.” But the goal of the clinic wasn’t just to teach the children to skate. It was also held to remind them that there are positive activity choices in the community.

“I teach fifth grade at the Polson Middle School,” said Havlovick. “The last two years or so, I have seen that if kids don’t have a group to fit into or activity to participate in, they seem to make not to good of choices. The kids need something positive to keep them out of trouble. The skate park offers a positive choice.”

Both Vargas and Havlovick hope the lessons learned during the skate clinic have instilled a lifelong passion and enthusiasm for the sport in the young riders. Proceeds from the camp will help fund the current $220,000 expansion project that will essentially double the size of the existing 12,000-square-foot park.

“This park is really advanced,” said Havlovick. “There aren’t a ton of beginner obstacles. The new obstacles we are adding will be directed more towards the beginner level.”

The additional obstacles like pyramids, rails, ledges, boxes and steps will merge seamlessly with the original design of the park, creating a wide variety of options for all styles and skill levels.

For more information about 7th Ave Skatepark or their expansion project, check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/polsonskatepark.

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