Q+A: Pemberton Skate Park founders Annikka Snow and Jeff Clarke

What can we learn from the effort behind the Pemberton Skate Park?

If you want something done, then you can do it, as long as you don’t give up…

Check out an extract from a recent interview with Annika Snow and Jeff Clarke, the driving energy behind the Park.

What did you know about a. skateboarding, b. building a skate park and c. raising money, when you embarked on this project?
Jeff had just started skateboarding a bit and our son and his friends were already skateboarding and we had really good experiences from different skateparks. We had no idea what it would take to build one but we wanted to do it for the kids and the community and were naive enough to think it wouldn’t be that hard… We kind of had ideas of how to raise money but we did not know how much we would have to raise.

When did you begin it all?
It kind of started for real in 2002 when Jeff was skateboarding with the kids and happened to say that “One day we will have a skatepark in Pemberton”…

All the kids just jumped right on that and asked what they would have to do and how to get started and not long after that, the first meeting was held and we formed the Pemberton Skateboard Society. It started very small with a few really keen kids and their parents.

Why you guys? Who were you to do this?
It was just the right thing to do and one thing led to another.

If you want something to happen you have to make it happen. No one else is going to do it for you.

The more we talked about a skatepark, the more convinced we were that this was something we needed to do. Kids and young people in town didn’t really have a place to hang out and socialize and be active at the same time and we knew that a skatepark would fill that need. It is free and there is no schedule or opening hours.

Maybe we have never really grown up and still believe in people and that we can do stuff if we get together and never give up…

What would you tell someone who’s starting out with a desire to create something big and bold and never before done?

Don’t lose focus on why you started in the first place. With the right attitude and some idealism anything can be done. Be prepared to work at it and maybe make some sacrifices but don’t give up! Our project was very small compared to some things people have accomplished and my advice is to look around and learn from what others have done.

How do you feel when you cruise by that space now?

They don’t have to tell us that the speed limit is 30 km – we slow down to a crawl and take it all in. All the work was so worth it when we see all the different people there having a good time. The village has done such a good job landscaping and it is just like we envisioned things to be. It’s a beautiful thing.

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