Red Deer man to use skateboarding passion to help at-risk youth

Academy aims to connect youth to front-line resources

Red Deer teacher Everett Tetz was in South Africa last summer, hanging out with one of the most famous skateboarders in the world, when the idea of combining passions really solidified for him.

Tetz is now moving ahead with the Academy Skateboard Collective, a new nonprofit organization that will use skateboarding as a bridge between at-risk youth and existing front-line agencies.

“Whether it’s mental health, schools, social workers … creating that bridge to link it back to their programming. I know from experience some of these kids are quite hard to reach unless you’re kind of speaking their language, and there’s a real disconnect between them and the adults that are trying to help them,” Tetz said Thursday.

The academy is essentially an extension of the skateboarding class that he started at Glendale Middle School a few years ago. He wrote the stand-alone curriculum for a skate program at that school for Grades 6 to 8. He’s now vice-principal at Oriole Park Elementary School.

Tetz, 35, grew up in Red Deer and started skateboarding as a young teenager. He began his teaching career at a home for at-risk youth near Edmonton. When he started showing up with his skateboard it instantly became a way to connect with kids he couldn’t connect with in the classroom, he said.

His work history has been mainly in alternative schools and with kids at risk. The new academy will combine his passions of working with youth and skateboarding.

He has partnered with New Line Skate Parks, which built the Glendale skateboard park in North Red Deer in 2013. He offers support with skateboard programming for schools and communities looking to build skate parks.

Last year New Line sent him to South Africa to represent them at a school/skateboard park grand opening involving the international Skateistan organization. Skateistan started in Afghanistan, using skateboarding as a way to reach out to girls in Kabul transitioning back into school.

Skateiastan is also operating programs now in Johannesburg and Cambodia. It was in Johannesburg that Tetz got to skate with Tony Hawk, the well-known American professional skateboarder. “It was pretty exciting.”

It was while talking to Skateistan while there, he said the idea of wanting to use skateboard outreach with marginalized youth in Canada really took hold for him. If it can work it places like South Africa or Cambodia, it can work in Canada as a bridge for empowerment programming, he thought.

“We have our own history of marginalized populations.”

“It is effective in a way that some of our more standard programs kind of fall flat.”

Some of the work the skateboard academy will do will involved travelling to remote communities in both northern Alberta and northern Canada. He’s already had interest from First Nations communities in Alberta.

Tetz said because he’s only one person there has to be people in those communities invested in the idea. “There needs to be local champions to move it forward.”

The whole thing is in its infancy but is moving along, Tetz said. He wants to connect with Central Alberta front-line agencies and has already had some discussion with the City of Red Deer. The website was launched a few months ago.

On April 21, there’s an Academy Skateboard Collective fundraiser at Bo’s Bar and Grill.

Just Posted

Unemployment rate and EI beneficiaries down in Central Alberta

The unemployment rate for Red Deer region and the number of people… Continue reading

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Women’s marches underway in Canadian cities, a year after Trump inauguration

Women are gathering in dozens of communities across the country today to… Continue reading

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month