Have you ever pondered the identity of your community?
It would be fair to think if you have, you would like to believe it was growing, lead with positivity, and pack to the gunnels with hope.
With an obvious bias, I believe this describes my local beach community.
On November 13, 2021, I attended the 2021 SkimsGiving skimboarding clinic hosted by Zap Skimboards, The Compound, Sarasota County, and The Twig, at the North Jetty Park, in Florida.
This event had the local pro team skimmers from Zap giving one-on-one instructions to the community, with The Compound providing skimboards.
The local county, Sarasota, supported the venue by allowing beach use when community gathering is difficult, especially during a global pandemic.
In addition to The Compound and Sharky's Beach Club, they provided lunch for all participants.
Last but (most certainly) not least, the charitable organization The Twig was present in support of the event.
The Twig supports children in the foster care program by inviting them to select seven items - apparel, toys, undergarments, games, and accessories - every month and in two boutique shops.
Additionally, they provide life-building seminar programs where the children have a guest speaker teach them about life and/or job skills.
It's a homegrown organization here in southwest Florida with a very righteous mission that can use all the support it can get.
For more information, please visit thetwigcares.com.
Sharing the Stoke
The instructors at SkimsGiving are professional skimmers and team up-and-comers.
Some of the groms were barely knee-high, and they all advanced as accomplished riders thanks to the instructors' work and dedication.
For the intermediate skimmers, instructors would ask them a simple question: "what do you want to learn?"
The goal is to improve and fine-tune their skills and boost their talent and potential. As a result, some riders learned new tricks, got into wave riding, and improved their foundational skills.
After the clinic, the event coordinator Benny Ray called all the participants up to the Zap tent.
He congratulated the participants on their learning and community-building attitude and then, with the help of professional skimboarder Naji Taha, they drew a raffle for The Compound gift cards.
Zap also raffled several skimboards - one of the winners was a first-time skimboarder who got himself a brand new skimboard.
The grom also earned himself a full instruction day run by a professional athlete. Along with a new skimboard, it's the kind of impact that can change a life - it was really cool to witness.
Giving Is Caring
First-time skimmers learned to skim; groms made friends with other like-minded groms, and community leaders and parents celebrated their kids' success.
On top of all that, two businesses proved that their ethics are more important than their profits while supporting a very deserving charity.
I've heard in certain circles that skimboarding is dead or dying - to say that is to say that a community is dying.
In an act of defiance, the Sarasota skimming community is thriving.
Skimboarding, surfing, and the sea are staples in our community, and they aren't going anywhere.
Zap Skimboards and The Compound provide career paths, youth programs, and a path to a lifetime love of the ocean.
There is no downside.
Dear reader, here's a challenge: our "skimmunity" is better than yours. Prove us wrong.
Words by Mikey Sanderlin | Skimboarder