How are you enriching your stakeholders’ experience?
On this week’s episode of Relish This, we talk to Keegan Guizard. Keenan is on the Board of the College Skateboarding Educational Foundation, an organization that helps get skaters college scholarships.
You’d be forgiven for thinking there was no real-world application for pushing your boundaries in competitive and adventure sports. But when you look at what you can learn when you test the limits of your abilities, it’s easy to see how it’s not much different from the process of getting a degree, running an organization, or being an entrepreneur.
The biggest takeaway from our chat was the idea of pushing your organization’s limits and creating “experiences” that drive donor engagement—instead of just falling back on “things.”
What if you could set up a fundraising event (like in a TapKat sweepstakes, auction, etc.) where donors could win an “experience”—like a skateboarding session at a private park with a famous skater? You’d see a LOT more engagement than if you just raffled off a skateboard.
Want to really take this idea to the next level? Supercharge engagement and donations by creating this opportunity as something designed for the donors’ kids. Then you’ll have a real winning auction item.
I hope you enjoy this episode.
Action Ask: Be nice to people no matter what.
Listen to the podcast here
Creating Experiences To Drive Donor Engagement With Keegan Guizard From College Skateboards
My guest is Keegan Guizard and he is on the board of the College Skateboarding Educational Foundation. That organization helps get skaters college scholarships. We talked a lot about the commonalities between pushing oneself, whether that is in skiing, skateboarding or any adventure sport and how that experience can translate to college, running an organization or being an entrepreneur.
One of the key things and takeaways from this episode is the idea that if you are running sweepstakes or you have a donor situation where you have a silent auction and you can create opportunities to exchange experiences versus things, you are going to hit it out of the park. This is something that has proven to be true. It is cool to think about ways to leverage your contacts, partnerships and corporate sponsorships to get experiences because those are going to resonate with your donors. I love this episode. I hope you do too. Here we go.
Keegan, welcome to the show. Thanks for being on.
Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it.
I’m excited to talk with you about your project and organization. You do some cool things in the skateboarding world.
I guess you could say that. I have been skateboarding since 1998. After going to school, there is a whole long story but we did skateboarding contests for college students. We have a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that awards college scholarships to skaters.
Tell us more about that. How long have you been doing that? How do you make a difference in the world by granting kids who are skateboarding the opportunity to go to school?
It is the College Skateboarding Educational Foundation, CSEF. We exist to award college scholarships to skaters that are already on that path, doing good things in their community and have good grades and financial needs. I met the cofounders in early 2016. Fast forward, I have passed the paperwork and in late 2017, we launched as a brand and a nonprofit. We opened our scholarship applications for the fourth consecutive year. In summer of 2021 will be the fourth year of getting those scholarship checks out.
How much are you able to give away every year for kid’s scholarship funds?
We are a new budding nonprofit. In the 2018 summer, we had some money from family and friends. We gave out six $500 checks. In 2019, we gave out eight $1,000 checks. 2022 was going to be a lot more growth but we still did slightly grow. We gave out nine $1,000 checks.
That helps out with some books and covers some tuition fees, I assume.
A big part of it too is we are growing and going to give larger amounts out in 2021. We are excited about that but we spread the wealth a bit on purpose, especially in the beginning to a lot of these kids. I say kids but in the first year, we gave a scholarship to a 44-year-old. A lot of our scholarship recipients have such good stories and doing such good work in their communities on top of keeping their grades up and needing the money. It will help them pay the rent for the dorm or afford their books. We get to shed some light on them in their journey. In some cases, that has led them to land an internship that helped them with money for the following summer. They hook up with companies for other benefits in their lives.
Being a recipient of your funding helps them achieve additional opportunities.
In some cases, yes.
Let’s look at the forecast. Years from now, if everything goes great, where are you landing in terms of what you are able to contribute to educational funds?
We have that roadmap trying to lay it out and looking to afford to pay 1 or 2 people. We are an all-volunteer board so all of the money that comes in goes directly to the scholarship fund. Years from now, we will have paid staff, at least one, hopefully, 2 or 3 of us and award at least 12 full-ride scholarships in much larger amounts.
Are you working within a specific system like the University of California? Can people take these scholarships and go wherever they would like?
It is wherever school you are in the United States. We had people get scholarships that are in Oregon, Arkansas, Florida and California. In 2020 with our scholarship recipients, 4 of the 9 were internationals but were studying in the US and are eligible.
It sounds like you have a few different constituent bases in terms of needing to gather donations and get people aware of your programs. What are you doing to spread the word and make sure people have a good understanding of who you are and what you are trying to accomplish?
We do all the basics, including Facebook and Instagram following. We have our email newsletter. We drive traffic to the website and build those lists further through other means and through that. Some of our partners, larger donors or individual donors, word of mouth marketing, collaborate messaging with some of our corporate partners that we had in the past. One thing that is important to me is making sure that every interaction anyone has with our brand is not only true to the message but a positive experience. It should be forever this way but quality over quantity to an extent.
Many organizations out there try and spread themselves too thin. Either their focus is distracted or a little spread out. They do not have the ability or opportunity to cement those relationships. Even in the early phases of engagement where they are trying to attract or connect with audiences, being spread a little thin can create challenges there. I love to learn more about what you are doing here but it sounds like you have a pretty robust inspire phase where you are trying to stay in touch with recipients to make sure that their experience is being fulfilled. How are you doing that?
We are a volunteer team. All of us on the board of directors stay in touch with our recipients. It has only been twenty of them and it is going to grow again in 2021. We Instagram DM. If I’m being honest, we exchanged messages. Every quarter, I will reach out to everyone with an email and say, “How was your experience been shared with us? What has your struggle been?” Especially when the COVID-19 pandemic came around, I was interested to see what their experience in school has been like. Are they having classes in person? Either way, if were or if not, has that affected their experience positively, negatively or both?
We stay in touch with them in those ways. Part of what we do is bring attention to our recipients and scholarship class. We have partnerships with Thrasher Magazine, which is the biggest skateboarding media outlet in the US. They are stoked even to get their faces posted on Thrasher because they are studying and are like rad skaters in school.
Is Thrasher writing articles about your program? Is that how that is getting out there?
Skateboarding has been held down in the stereotype of burnout, smoking weed, and hanging out in the streets. That has begun to change, starting with the Olympics.
In 2020, we announced our scholarship recipients with Thrasher. They posted that our applications are open. They shared the graphic and all of that.
That is a cool partnership. They have such a huge following and that mag has been around forever. It is like the gold standard of skater magazines. That is great that you have that relationship.
It is good that you know that. For sure, it has a loyalist, almost cult-like following. A lot of skateboarders have been in the game for their whole lives. It would refer to it as the Bible.
It is always good to get mentioned in the Bible. We will call it good this time.
We are all working on it. They are great and do great stuff. This is probably a theme for organizations or nonprofits in general. Everyone is holding themselves more accountable if they were to ever have a potential cancel moment in the past. Thrasher has been good about being more inclusive and making skateboarding feel more inclusive. Skateboarding has become a lot more inclusive in the last few years.
It has certainly been through its moments. That is what I like about what you are doing because there are a lot of people out there that have a negative idea about skateboarding. Honestly, it is such a great outlet for many people. Demonstrating, shedding light and bringing a lot of positivity into that area is a helpful thing to be able to do in school that you are contributing to that. What other corporate partnerships have you engaged in? What has been your mechanism to get in front of those people?
In the beginning, it was just skateboarding industry contexts but we are getting to the stage where we want to go beyond that. We have worked with Nike in the past and are working towards doing things with other similar companies as well.
Are you actively pursuing a specific target list? Do you have the feelers out there? What is your process?
We have our feelers out there all the time and lots of allies all over the country that are looking out for us. To be honest, our bandwidth is full with what comes to us at this point and where we are at that sweet spot where we organically get just as much as we can handle, which is great. We do have a list for what comes after that and we might dip in there in April 2021. It has been seamless.
We started with the skate industry context at first and corporate donors, individual donors, family and friends in the beginning but we are bringing someone onto the board to help with more grant writing. We just don’t have the bandwidth to even get into that whole world, not seriously. We are looking to larger foundations that have the budget to support. A foundation like ours is something we are going to be doing more of in 2021.
There are a lot of those partnerships that you can make where you can leverage their expertise and experience, as well as if they are big enough, maybe lean on them or kick over some staffing in terms of people helping either vet or write some of those grant proposals. Those can be quite time-consuming.
It is cool to figure out ways, particularly as you are growing, to leverage all those assets in a way that isn’t going to make you come across as too demanding but does provide the opportunity to tap into some of those mechanisms that are already in place. I have a question about your fundraising. In several years, you are hoping to fund full-ride scholarships. Are you budgeting about $40,000 per year for each of those? What numbers are you looking at there?
To be quite honest with you, we have not settled on those numbers or had a full meeting about that yet. That sounds about right. The average full-year costs with tuition, fees and attached other costs at universities across the country are probably somewhere around $36,000 or $37,000. Forty-thousand dollars would be a good blanket to make sure everyone is covered. You could create campaigns around particular people that need help. Maybe we decide to revisit past scholarship recipients who are still doing good work or moved into a Master’s program for this amount of money. As a donor, you could sponsor them. There is some recognition or collaboration involved.
One of the other questions I had was in terms of people you get a scholarship, provide with the first year and what happens in years 2, 3 and 4 or beyond, depending upon where they are going to keep them able to continue their studies. Are you looking at the multi-year type of engagements or one hit and let people take it from there?
It has been one hit but we stay in touch. This won’t be sustainable when we are much larger in several years but a person-to-person and one-on-one offering advice. Not just myself but others on the board play the role of the counselor that is your friend. We talk them through things. Some of the new board members we are bringing on are younger, closer to college age. It is valuable. Their experience of being a college student is much fresher in their memory. That is important.
The college experience I have years ago was significantly different than things now. It changes rapidly. That is compounded by COVID and all the crazy things that people are going through that you and I might not have even thought of. It is an interesting landscape that you have jumped into. Those donations are going to fuel this stuff. You are going to try and tap into some grants and have some sponsorship opportunities. With your corporate sponsorships, do you have access to their lists? Are they big enough that you can leverage those partnerships to help expand your mission?
It depends on what the campaign looks like. We have not done much of that at the large scale you might be thinking of yet. We make an appropriate announcement with the partner, the sponsor or the donor. That is a part of it. We all want to multiply the collective voice together with our followings, friends and supporters.
We have a partner and they are here in the area. We are friends with them. It is a company called TapKat, which runs sweepstakes for nonprofits. One of the things that we have seen be successful when running sweepstakes with TapKat is having access to a decent-sized distribution list. When there is a corporate sponsorship or partnership that the nonprofit has the ability to tap into that mailing list or social audience, it helps extend and expand the ability to hit all of the gold figures for that campaign.
Typically, they do a couple of things. One is to create opportunities to tap into a sponsor. They can donate or sell to the nonprofit some desirous sweepstakes winner item at a reduced cost. For you, it could be some limited edition, a rare skateboard that Thrasher has access to or even something bigger that Nike might have that allows you to start to entice people to participate in the sweepstakes.
The way that works is they tap into a couple of different motivations. The first is this desire to help. Your entry becomes a donation to the nonprofit, as well as this desire to win something. It is layering on motivations, which is one good way to entice people to participate. Keying into those assets that your corporate sponsors have to fuel those sweepstakes can be super effective. They had good luck, particularly with nonprofits that do have those kinds of partnerships. That might be someone to keep in mind, as you are trying to raise more funds to help expand your mission and help more people get a little bit of assistance going to college.
That is a great idea. I made a note.
I’m happy to make an introduction to them if that sounds like something you would be interested in. In terms of your recipient base, do people typically find out about you through promotion in Thrasher? What is the mechanism by which people find out about your organization?
It’s by word of mouth and media partnerships like the one we have with Thrasher or other skate publications and larger publications we have worked with too. We have appeared on Univision. I can’t list them off the top of my head but we had some of that stuff.
How do you get the word out that a scholarship is available to somebody who might be a recipient or would be interested in receiving a scholarship?
That is word of mouth, pointing to our social media and website, signing up for the newsletter and things like that. Building our following is a big part of it. We are still in that early growth phase. I am confident about our growth patterns moving forward because of the place that skateboarding is in but it is skateboarding endemic. Anyone who applies for a scholarship and is truly eligible does skate. That is a limited group of people to some extent but it is growing rapidly. Skateboarding being in the Olympics is one that gets brought up quite a bit.
That happened in 2020. Was that the 1st year or the 2nd?
A struggling and starving skateboarder can still have a lucrative career. With so many skate parks out there today, they have a lot of opportunities on their hands.
They are still calling it Tokyo 2020 but that happens in 2021. It will be the first time skateboarding appears in the Olympic games. They are still planning for it in 2021. My friend Josh, who works at USA Skateboarding reports to Worldskate, which reports to the IOC. There are some complications and I hope it all works out. Their qualification system has changed for obvious reasons. Qualifying contest events and in-person events aren’t as possible but they were years ago.
It has been an interesting time for athletes across the board in terms of how competitions are a little more challenging to put on at this point. That addition to the Olympics is bringing a lot of interest to the sport at this time. How many followers do you have on your social media channels?
We are 4,700 on Instagram or above that because we are approaching 5,000. I’m not sure about our Facebook. Maybe I should know that one. We have a couple thousand on the email newsletter. That is where we stand. General interest in skateboarding rising is a good thing because it has been pretty easy to find people who want to support our mission. It is a no-brainer.
Skateboarding has been held down in the stereotype of burnout like you are not doing anything with your life, smoking weed and skating, hanging out in the streets, skateboarding and doing nothing with your life thing like punk rock. What is next? That has begun to change. The Olympic example is probably the most prominent but even before skateboarding was in the Olympics, I started skating in the early X Games era. That was a time much different than several years prior.
It had already grown a lot when I was nine years old watching Tony Hawk do the 900 lands. It had gone further in that direction. A skateboarder can have a lucrative career and also possible to be a struggling, starving and aspiring pro skateboarder. That is for sure. I’m not saying that deciding to try to be a pro skateboarder will be easy but those opportunities have broadened.
Skateboarding is in a different place. A lot of skateboarders who have been in it for a long time like my age or older feel bitter about that because it’s not what it used to be that kind of attitude. They do not get to work for it anymore. Anyone can come out here. Skate parks are everywhere. They do not know what it is like.
When it comes down to it, you can decide to have pride in the history, the time and the pain you have put into skateboarding but at the end of the day, everyone is progressing on a skateboard, getting that feeling of learning and capitalizing on failure to get further and having fun on a skateboard. If you are having fun, progressing and feeling that feeling of skateboarding, that is a good thing. Those people should keep being curmudgeon to themselves. I have been that guy before so I understand but everyone is out there having fun.
On top of that, with the pandemic also, board sales went way up. A lot of new people are buying bicycles and skateboards because it is something that you can do while socially distant. On a different level, that is only helping the industry bring in more revenue to support themselves, pro skaters, skateboarders, in general, and foundations like the ones my friends run and the ones I run as well. I genuinely see it as a great thing that skateboarding is expanding.
There were a couple of things you mentioned there. The first one reminds me of the quote that we have in the ski world, which is what I do most than skiing and riding bikes. That is, “If you are not falling every once in a while, you are not trying hard enough.” That goes the same with running a foundation or running an organization like what you have put together. Ultimately, you have to take some risks to learn and grow.
Taking that first step to even say, “Let’s do this so that we can help some people have a little bit of a leg up.” You certainly have gotten out of your comfort zone and I’m sure you will continue to do that. It is great to see the motivation and application of those life lessons that do span across a variety of different phases that we have in our collective lives.
People who are familiar with skateboarding already know this but maybe not everyone in your audience is that person. Skateboarders have a special relationship with failure. It is the same with anyone who is exercising and pushing themselves physically. If it is non-profits like yourself, downhill skiing is a special relationship with failure because you are almost guaranteed to inflict pain on yourself if you are pushing your boundaries. That translates to other areas of life.
I will speak on behalf of four-year programs. Anyone who has gone through school in that way and said that there was never a time when they wanted to bang their head against the wall and scream out loud like, “Why do I have to do this part,” is probably lying. There are certain parts of the process that might seem pointless.
A part of holding a degree, especially a Bachelor’s degree, is proving that you can get the thing done and you are reliable enough to do the same thing for four years. Not quitting is a big part of why college degrees still even hold value. What you learned in skateboarding from falling to getting back up and falling 60 times to get that one video clip is useful when you are cramming for 3 final exams that might fall on the same day. You are a crazy person but there is something at the end of the tunnel that is wonderful. Keep on doing it.
I love that analogy. I also liked that you pointed out how many times it can take to nail that trick because a lot of people see success. When you go to Instagram or YouTube, you see the finished product, which is not necessarily a one-take endeavor and embracing the idea of whether it is going to college, starting a nonprofit or learning to do a cool trick on your skateboard. There is a lot more that goes into it for the vast majority of us than grabbing the board, going in and doing it the first try. It is a process and it takes a lot of falling before we get it right.
There are different levels to it as well. I don’t know what your readers might have experienced with street skateboarding but ever since the introduction of street skateboarding as a part of skating, it has been the biggest faction of it and the most popular. That is a big part of the DNA of skateboarding. Part of getting back up after a failure and trying again is dealing with security guards, going back to the spot on a Sunday or for the twelfth time, all that gas and the time it takes to get all five of your friends to show up at the skate park by 1:00 or whatever it might be.
As you get older, you become more courteous. You can identify with the struggles of that security guard and you will be nice to everyone. That is part of it too is getting kicked out of spots. I’m based in Los Angeles. Maybe your board goes down the ditch into the LA river. There is much more to it, even than having a bad bruise on the palm of your hand.
There is a lot of falling. You could stay at a spot for 110 tries and barely walk away. There are many layers to it. Going back to the point of that activity and all the issues that go along with it create a drive and discipline which I do not even think a lot of skaters realize that they are building within themselves. It translates to real-life things.
It is that tenacity that college students need and have. That can come from all of the hardship, the trial and error and the learning that goes on while trying to pick up a sport like skateboarding.
Tenacity is a good word to use. A lot of words would fit there but that is a good one.
I know how much people struggle trying to learn something new, whether that is in school, in a skate park or out on the street. Learning a new trick is hard. It takes perseverance and desire to overcome. It is very applicable to that college experience.
I’m a proud skateboarder and I don’t know how many of your readers can relate to that. One thing that I enjoy doing is I do it passively. I would not call myself a climber but rock climbing has a lot of shared habits. The culture even is similar. You live in your van and do the thing. The fact that they call the routes that they are pursuing problems. You solve the problem in hours discovering approaches. You might get what you are looking at here. That is another thing that I have related to as a skateboarder and there is a lot more similar to skating than people might have previously realized.
Those guys work a single move for hours, days and even weeks to perfect it before they get to the point where they can send that one pitch. There might be one little crux move that they have to work out. Climbing is an amazing sport in that capacity.
It takes years of practice to get that 1 stronghold on that 1 type of crimp just like it would take years of practice to get that 1 trick consistent enough to bring it to a spot.
I remember when I went to school, it took me three years to figure out how to study where I could retain and apply all the stuff that was getting crammed into my head. Like learning a new trick, applying yourself in that capacity is honing those skills and dialing it in until you have it perfected. What are the criteria for being a scholarship recipient? Are there a few hoops that people have to jump through to become a recipient?
There are three categories, 1) You have to have good grades, 2) You have to have the financial need and show it with FAFSA forms and, 3) You have to be involved in your community. We have a minimum of 2.5 GPA. The average GPA of the people who end up getting scholarships is 3.8 plus. They are smart kids. Financial needs, if your household income is above $80,000, you might be less likely to be awarded a scholarship unless it shows that you are the youngest of 8 children or something like that. We take transcripts, FAFSA forms and tax forms into account when considering those things.
The third piece is community involvement. We have three essay questions on our scholarship application. We changed them slightly but one of them is, “What does skateboarding mean to you? How did it come into your life?” The second being is, “How did you select your major field of study? What do you like about it?” The third being is, “Tell us something else about yourself.” That is their chance to brag about what they have done.
Skateboarders have a really special relationship with failure. They push themselves physically and mentally, inflicting pain on themselves to go beyond their boundaries.
We get 200 plus applications every year. Narrowing it down to less than ten is so difficult because half of the applications we get are from impressive individuals. If you do not have something to brag about, you are probably not going to get a scholarship because it is that competitive. Anyone who has gotten a scholarship from us is either responsible for building their local DIY spot or getting their local skate park built with the Tony Hawk Foundation. They lead female-identifying non-binary queer-friendly skate meetups or a plethora of things.
One of the scholarship recipients is studying to be a superintendent. He was a teacher and is in her Master’s program. He used to work at Thrasher in customer service. He is a part of the scene encouraging young girls to skate more. Good grades, financial need and community involvement as a part of your story. It is one thing to have the grades, need the money and to be skateboarding for fifteen-plus years but it is even more special when you need the money, work 1 job or 2, go to school and do good work in your community for free. Those are the people that we aspire to keep supporting.
There is an awful lot to be said for that opportunity to give back and take that initiative. It is cool to see some of the younger generation or people coming up that that has become a part of what they are doing. They feel strongly about doing more for the planet and their communities than just being citizens. It is great to see some of that change that is happening. It is awesome that you are helping to foster that by encouraging your scholarship recipients to be a part of that community growth.
That goes back to what I was hinting at where we stay in touch with our scholarship recipients. We have our formal communication but we also have our more casual, friendly communication. We try to foster a family atmosphere with the aesthetic of the organization and real human contact. None of that context is physical now. The one-on-one conversations and feeling connected are a big part of it. That goes beyond skateboarding. Everyone wants to feel connected. With COVID, a lot of people have probably experienced more loneliness or little bits of anxiety and depression than they had before.
That is a trend that is not surprising given how things have evolved over the last years. That is why I love the idea of this community that you are building. You have nearly 5,000 Instagram followers and roughly 2,000 people on your email list. There may be an opportunity here because one of the things that are a little bit of a challenge is how you scale this connectedness and opportunity to reach out and have actual conversations, whether that is through DM or however you facilitate that but losing the ability to have that one-on-one and mentorship capacity of your organization.
One of the things I’m seeing here is that you have some strong numbers. Where people may be able to contribute more to the organization is by becoming part of that follow-up and team that is supporting these people who are going to school who are skaters and being able to help create that mechanism by which people can have another outlet to that community and ability to give back. That could be something that you could tap into and enable yourself to scale a bit more as you start to increase the number of people per year that you are able to help through your scholarships.
I hate to bring up COVID because I am sick of hearing about it but we did have quite a good cadence with in-person events and fundraising coming up to the pandemic. We were positioned to flourish in 2020. We have, but not maybe as much as we would have otherwise, leveraged that into more peer-to-peer fundraising. Everyone feels a part of the community already. It is something valuable and we would like to capitalize on it.
The last event that we did was a dinner fundraiser like a skater’s gala-style dinner fundraiser with drinks and coffee sponsors. Ex-pro skater, Aaron Snyder and his professor, Brother Greg came together. We did it at The Berrics. Anyone who skates knows that it is a private skatepark. That is also a media brand that has been very successful. Pros go there to film.
We got it in before the stay-at-home order was placed in Los Angeles but normally, our events are either nonfundraiser student sessions. We have done student sessions at The Berrics and we are planning on doing it at some exclusive place where you can’t just go to skate. If you show your student ID at the door, you can come in. We have drinks and pizza for everybody. Everybody gets to hang out and feel a part of that community as students.
The other type of event we were pushing was panel discussions or panel talk events with experts that are in our network, whether they are skateboarders, use skate and are prominent designers or professors. They all talk about what role of skating has in their lives, what role education had in their lives and how they might intersect. Transitioning to virtual events was a bit of a challenge and we have stepped up to the challenge. We are doing our best.
It has been a challenging time and how people interact is in person and in communities. It is not our nature necessarily to have everything be so distant but it is great to hear that you are stepping up to that challenge and figuring things out. That is fantastic. One of the things that are worth exploring is the idea of creating experiences.
Even if those are not necessarily the entire community coming together, I like hearing that you are tapping into the opportunities and your ability to gain access to some of these places that people normally aren’t able to access. That becomes an experience and something that people are willing to pay a lot for as opposed to just a thing.
There are two things that you can tap into there. One is creating opportunities for individual experiences, whether that is to go skate with some pro that you have a good relationship with or have a private session in some park that people normally can’t access. Where you can get some good tie-ins is if you can figure out how to create those experiences for one’s children.
Typically, we have the capacity to donate and give larger funds as we age. That is when we also tend to have children. People are willing to go above and beyond for the opportunity for their kids to experience something remarkable. Facilitating those donor opportunities can be incredibly powerful in terms of getting people to engage in a donor capacity. This has been super fun. I have enjoyed our conversation. Where can people go to find out more about your organization?
If anybody wants to learn more about us, if you are a student and you want to apply for a scholarship or anyone who wants to place a donation and help us further our mission, we’re at CollegeSkateboarding.com, Facebook.com/CollegeSkateboarding or Instagram.com/CSEF. You will be able to find us.
At this point, we are an all-volunteer board of directors. Every dollar that comes in is directly proceeded to the scholarship fund and to those student accounts at universities for those who win the scholarships. There is very little overhead and we are pushing the money right into those accounts. We love the support if anyone is able to do that.
I love when people have that ability to contribute in that time capacity that you are giving to this movement. It is good to see. One of the things is if you read any of the episodes, you know that I love having these conversations but I also love people taking action. Action can come in such a variety of different things. It can be taking your dog for a walk, appreciating nature, donating to this cause or go try skateboarding. What action would you want people to take who have read this episode?
The first one that comes to mind and it is very typical is if you go to our website and give us money. I’m trying to think of a way that someone who does not skateboard could understand skateboarding better. If they do not feel like I’m talking through this out loud and thinking through it, maybe skateboarders do not feel approachable, especially in certain places if they’re skating on the street.
With that being said, try to make an effort next time, if you see skateboarding happening and you desire and are interested, to maybe sit there and take in what they are doing without being too creepy. Try to understand what exactly is going on over there. I see he is putting his board on the rail as if he is grinding it. He is feeling the intricacies of the topography of the spot or maybe the camera guy is looking at a second angle and wants to show how big the spot is, what part of the city it is in, how are they documenting things, how are they focusing in certain areas and how are they doing what they are doing.
It goes beyond how you pop that board off the ground. There is so much nuance to it. Skateboarding had that negative stereotype of burnout for doing nothing. That has changed too. It is all genders. If you are interested in doing something that I’m suggesting, take a mental note next time you see a skateboarder in the wild and try to understand it a little bit more. We are all humans and skateboarders are one type of human. I’m biased because I love skateboarding but that would be good. If anything to leave some people with is to be nice to people no matter what.
I was fortunate that when I worked our office was down in Denver because it might be the biggest skate park along a route that I used to run quite a bit. I also used to drive by it pretty much every day to and from the office. Occasionally, I would stop, sit and watch these amazing athletes do amazing things, even people who were learning. It was so fun to get to see them enjoying that sport, trying something hard and pushing themselves. I would echo what you said. Go out and enjoy watching some people enjoying skating.
With no preconceived notions and an open mind, you can come to see, “That is cool how they do that,” whatever it might be, the thing you would never notice before. Is that the Denver Skatepark in Downtown Denver?
It is right on the 20th and I’m right down by the Platte River. As you come into town, it is right by the baseball stadium.
I have skated there before.
It is a nice little place and it gets a ton of use. It is a cool place to go skate.
If you are in the Denver area, go to Denver Skatepark. Keep your distance but check it out.
Thanks for being on the show, Keegan. It was wonderful talking with you and learning a little bit more about skating and what you guys are doing to help contribute to the education of some skaters. It is great.
I appreciate that. I had fun on the call. Thanks for including me.
It is my pleasure. Talk to you soon.
About Keegan Guizard
Keegan is a skateboarder, entrepreneur, writer, and traveler living in Los Angeles, CA. In addition to being the Executive Director of CSEF, he founded and operated Collegiate Skate Tour and travels as frequently as possible. Born in New York and raised in coastal North Carolina, Keegan graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in Business Administration. The education he received at NC State, along with what he’s learned from 20+ years of skateboarding, inspires him to facilitate higher education for skateboarders everywhere.