Kids in the remote First Nations village of Ahousaht, off the west coast of Vancouver Island, could soon get a skateboard park, as outreach workers strive to help young people feeling isolated.
Ahousaht is located on Flores Island, a 45-minute boat ride north of Tofino, B.C. and is home to about 900 people. But the isolation has contributed to some social issues — including a number of suicides or attempted suicides over the years.
Grant Shilling thinks skateboarding can help. The outreach worker from Cumberland, B.C., volunteers with a non-profit called Get On Board, which uses board sports to help young people develop confidence and life skills.
“Fun is a way of forgetting about some of life’s bigger problems,” he said. “Once kids start skateboarding they attach themselves to healthier pursuits and it becomes a focus and a passion and that’s the way forward for some people.”