Steamboat Springs For middle school youth mentors, skateboarding was an activity they could use to connect to students.
A group of students at Steamboat Springs Middle School worked with two AmeriCorps mentors, parks and recreation and the city of Steamboat Springs to improve and fix up the current skate park near Howelsen Hill.
The group spent an hour a day for three weeks cleaning up the park, painting the ramp supports and fixing a ramp that had been broken.
"It was a partnership between the school to increase the students' ownership and pride of the skate club," said Brooke Lachman, parks and recreation supervisor of teen programs.
She said all middle school students participate in a special-interest group, but this group of students was unique because it was able to participate in an activity outside of school.
The two AmeriCorps mentors, Marisa Lazarus and Billy Seaborn, worked with middle school students to understand issues and activities that were important to them.
Lachman said the middle school students identified skateboarding as one of their special interests. Participating in an activity interesting to students is one way to begin to understand issues students face at school, Lachman said.
Eighth-grader Alex Church said the group transported one of the broken skate ramps to the middle school's industrial arts classroom and fixed it. Middle school industrial arts teacher Johnny Walker helped rebuild the ramp.
Eighth-grade student Eric Hunter said he thought if students took care of the skate park the city might consider building nicer skate facilities in the future. He said getting out of school to work on the project was a nice treat.
"I think it looks really good and it looks better than it did," eighth-grader Darby McNamara said.
He said he does not skateboard very often but devoted most of his time at the park to make the area a nicer place for people to visit.
"It was fun painting I'm glad we got to do it for the city," he said.
The focus group and all supporting parties had a pizza party at the park last Friday to celebrate the improved appearance of the skate park while giving students free skate time.
Lachman said she hopes to involve the students in some fund-raising activities for the park.