Words by: Katie Ferraro Photos by: Katie Ferraro & Dustin Valdez

This summer I had the opportunity to use my background in marketing and event planning in a big, meaningful way. I led a group of eight students in Los Angeles in creating an event from concept to implementation. The project, backed by Mountain Dew and powered by Motive, gave the students the opportunity to use their insights on challenges skateboarders face in LA to give back to their community. It was both inspiring and eye opening to watch this process unfold as they came up with an amazing plan!

As a coach in this environment, one of the biggest things I see is kids placing limits on themselves and their ideas. Despite this being present in planning their project, what they came up with was larger than life. They created LA Skate Movement, a festival style event featuring a skatepark with custom designed elements (made possible by California Ramp Works), art, music, and photography workshops, food trucks to fuel the excitement, and swag boasting the LA Skate Movement Logo which was designed by one of the students. When they showed up to the very first event (of 4), their faces lit up because it was clear that what was in front of them was beyond their expectations, but exactly what they dreamed up.

During the first event, artist Michael C. Hsiung led a sticker workshop where kids were encouraged to put their creativity to work by creating stickers that were true to them. Some of the students were so excited to share their creations, they decorated some of the STOKED skateboards for us all to enjoy.


A legend in the skate industry, photographer and film maker Tobin Yelland brought a crew of photographers to the 2nd event and put high quality cameras in the hands of students and attendees, teaching them how to best capture skateboarders in action. They even got to take a printed copy of their favorite photo with them! This was especially cool because many of our students are interested in photography and take pictures of or film their friends skateboarding often.


For event three, Scratch Academy brought digital and manual DJ set ups, giving everyone a chance to try out their DJing skills. Having the opportunity to get their hands on this technology was really cool for the kids because most had never seen or used them before. At the end of the workshop, they were able to create a spin art record branded with the LA Skate Movement logo to take home with them as an added bonus.


Lastly, the biggest event of the all was the fourth event with professional athlete and Mountain Dew rider Nick Tucker. It was a packed house, but Nick graciously took the time to sign autographs, take pictures, and helped our students learn and perfect their tricks. To end the event and the series, we rallied everyone together, about 150-200 people, and recorded our own version of the mannequin challenge!


It’s safe to say that this past Skate season was one of the most successful and fulfilling yet. Not only did our students get to create something meaningful and inclusive for their community, they also got to interact with parents, kids, and adults sharing something they are passionate about—skateboarding and art. A big thank you to everyone who contributed to make our student’s dreams come true!