Keep It Moving, Hacienda Skate Shop and Keaton’s Kids joined together recently to celebrate the first Great Skate Giveaway in the City of Newburgh. 100 brand new and completely built skateboards with additional helmets were distributed to kids, who could also receive lessons and tips from local coaches at this free event.
The Great Skate Giveaway was held at the City of Newburgh Skate Park, at 401Washington Street. A total of 75 kids were registered for the event and if kids came by who were interested in a board and gear, they were welcomed to come and take them.
On the morning of the giveaway, kids from the greater Newburgh area signed in with their parents at one of the registration tables and received a nametag and a free custom t-shirt from the Awesome Foundation of Newburgh.
At another table, kids were able to see a variety of different skateboards of different colors and sizes, all fully prepared and built. Matthew Boyea, owner of Hacienda Skate Shop, stood underneath the distribution tent and helped kids and their parents in their decision making for a board, recommending sizes and styles that best fit riding needs. Kids would then pick out a helmet and would make their way onto the park and begin to ride. “Kids are excited, parents are excited. I’m having way too much fun,” Boyea said. “Everybody’s having a great time.”
While some kids at the event were able to hop on their board and get right into riding, other kids needed a little bit of help or had never ridden a skateboard before. A good friend of Boyea and fellow skater, Stephen Nester of the Town of Newburgh helped out as one of the instructors for the event and was happy to see all the kids out there learning and riding. “Just to see a lot of kids and first timers on a board is pretty cool to see. It’s pretty surreal,” Nester said.
Hacienda Skate Shop, founded by Boyea of the Town of Newburgh, first opened on August 10, 2021 and currently operates at 136 Lake Street, Suite 2. In the shop, which has been a lifelong dream of his, Boyea carries a variety of skateboard decks, trucks, wheels, clothing and other products from his shop and from other local and semi-local brands. This will be Hacienda Skate Shop’s first time as a headliner for an event and Boyea shared he was grateful for the opportunity to be part of this community event with the help of Keep It Moving and Keaton’s Kids.
Keep It Moving, founded by Lauren Mandel, is not only dedicated to youth enrichment through programming and physical activity but also provides Narcan training to help combat the opioid epidemic. Keep It Moving was created to honor and remember the life of Mandel’s son Zane, who at the age of 22, passed away from a fentanyl overdose. Zane had graduated with a degree in social work from Siena College and was working towards being a part of prisoner reform prior to his passing.
According to Mandel and her partner Donette Smith, Keep It Moving is mainly known for hosting 5K runs for their fundraising efforts, but this skateboarding event has been a long time idea that has been wanted since the start of Keep It Moving.
Keaton’s Kid’s, founded by Cat Guthrie and her partner Kevin Spath, was also created to honor and remember the life of Guthrie’s son Keaton who was also into skateboarding and other outdoor activities and who was also dedicated to helping and serving others. Keaton died in 2018 while surfing in California.
For both mothers, the memory of their son’s losses still remain with them but both are so grateful of the reception of this event, the partnership created through this effort and really just seeing the kids enjoying their time on their boards. “It’s so exciting to see kids of all ages get on their board for the first time and their excitement and their thrill. I love the fact that we’re all [Keaton’s Kids, Hacienda Skate Shop and Keep It Moving] working together,” Guthrie said. “I feel like that Zane and Keaton are just here today and they’re hanging out together,” Lauren said.
During the course of the giveaway, friends of both Zane and Keaton came to the park and helped out with volunteering at tables or helping with some of the kids with their lessons. Friends of Boyea and his shop also came out to teach kids and to enjoy the day.
Meeting Keaton when he was three years old, Lucas Freeman and Keaton became fast friends and spent many hours together, sometimes skateboarding. Freeman expressed gratitude for the work Keaton’s Kids has done since its inception, especially with this event. “Keaton would be so happy,” Freeman said. “He’d love to see what’s going on here today, what his mom has done with this organization. He’d be so proud.”
A friend of Zane, Marco Colon of the City of Newburgh also stopped by and also helped with lessons for kids on how to ride their boards. Colon shared that he was grateful to be here in this park because he, Zane and their friend group had wanted one for many years. The process overall Colon shared, took about six to seven years until it finally happened and now kids from the City of Newburgh and surrounding areas can now come together and enjoy this park. Here at the Great Skate Giveaway, Colon was happy to be a part of the day and be there for the kids. “I think it’s fantastic,” said Colon.
“I’ve helped a few kids and they seem to have progressed already. They get a tip and they have the confidence to actually act on it.”