Portage Lake District Library launches skateboarding and STEM program

Copper Country

HOUGHTON, Mich. (WJMN) – The Portage Lake District Library will launch a new program at the Houghton skatepark.

Rad Academy will feature drop-in skateboard instruction and related events. Rabbit Island Foundation Director Andrew Ranville and PLDL Library Director Dillon Geshel possess a combined 35 years of skateboarding experience. They will help to provide skateboard instruction and project-based STEM activities related to action sports culture.

“I’ve been skating since I was a teenager, and the culture surrounding skateboarding really
shaped who I am as an individual,” Said Library Director Dillon Geshel. “For students not as
interested in organized sports or other school-based extracurricular activities, skateboarding can
be a great recreational activity. We want to share the many positive elements of skate culture
with a new generation of local kids.”

The Portage Health Auxiliary provided funding for six skateboards, pads, helmets and more to help support the program. Local youth between ages 9 and 12 are invited to attend the drop-in skateboarding lessons. They will take place on Thursdays from 4:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M. and Saturdays from 9:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. between August 19 and September 11.

Skateboarding equipment is available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Snacks and refreshments are also provided. Participation in the program is limited but some accompanying STEM events will be open to all community members.

“One of our Rad Academy events will include an outdoor physics demonstration, and that’s something we’ll be inviting the whole community to attend,” Said Geshel. “Other STEM activities will be geared specifically towards students participating in skate instruction, such as photography and graphic design workshops.”

By the end of the program, select participants will also have the opportunity to design and press their own skateboard deck in collaboration with Gnarlywood, a California-based skateboard manufacturer with ties to the Houghton area.

Parents or guardians will need to sign a waiver of liability for children to participate. The waiver will be onsite at each event. Library programs are free and open to all. For more information on Rad Academy and other events, contact the library at 906-482-4570 or by email at mstanitis@pldl.org.

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