OutLoud founder Seth Compton and Zaiden Whitesell-Chiasson within the new attraction. Note Compton’s board bearing the OutLoud logo David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Seth Compton’s vision of a skate park within OutLoud North Bay has materialized, and yesterday the doors were opened on the organization’s new attraction, aptly dubbed The Skateroom.

Compton is the founder and executive director of OutLoud, a charitable organization that provides help and support to local youth, especially 2SLGBTQIA+ youth. The group operates at 123 Delaware Ave. in North Bay.

“We started this project last year in May, when Giant Tiger came in to do their renovations with us,” Compton explained. Just over a year later, the Skateroom is complete. A lot of time was needed to frame up the room for the skatepark, plus an architect was brought in, and the floor was soundproofed. It was quite the process to undertake before any ramps were installed.

See: OUTLoud’s safe space gets spruced up

In total, about $60,000 went into the room, about $15,000 more than anticipated. “It’s been a lot of blood sweat and tears” to make it happen.

Before the room was built a small half-pipe was set up in the large space, and this ramp became so popular, the decision was made to go ahead with a larger project. Also, the new skate room is safer, with fewer errant skateboards flying every which way.

“Kids come together when they skate,” Compton noticed. “It’s a mental health outlet for some kids, when they’re angry they skate, when they’re happy they skate. It’s like the kids who invest in hockey or soccer or baseball, it becomes an outlet.”

An all-season space to practice is great for OutLoud’s members, Compton noted, and who knows, maybe one day one of those kids will represent Canada in skateboarding at a future summer Olympics. “We have some amazing kids here who have real talent.”

See: Skateboarding offers lessons that reach far beyond the half-pipe

“There’s nothing like it in Northern Ontario,” Compton said of the Skateroom, and already people are inquiring about using the space. For now, it’s for members only – “our top priority is keeping this a safe space for the kids” – although in the future rentals might be available. The extra revenue would help, but that plan is down the road.

The ramps were installed by Ramp to Rail, who completed the job after four full workdays. The space is about 50 feet long and 30 feet wide. There are two windows in the room, but both now have bars over them to prevent skaters from flying out the window, or the glass breaking from a stray board.

Obviously, safety is a priority and kids must have their parent’s sign a waiver before entering the Skateroom. There are limits to the number of users at one time, and protective gear must be worn at all times. Members can also book time alone in the room to perfect their ollies in peace.

“It’s really good,” OutLoud member Zaiden Whitesell-Chiasson emphasized, “definitely a place you should try to check out.” At age 11,  Whitesell-Chiasson is new to skateboarding, but is working up to pull off some tricks, “and this will be perfect.”

“Some people in the world don’t know how to look out on a path or road,” and it can be dangerous out there for a skater. Inside is much safer. Plus, “no scrapes from asphalt.”

“It’s a great hang-out space, it’s really good here.”

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

By David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 11, 2023 at 16:23

This item reprinted with permission from   BayToday.ca   North Bay, Ontario
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