Two Sylvan Lake men have been named Flipside Youth Centre’s skatepark ambassadors, both named Rylan.
Rylan DeChamp and Rylan Dodman will be on duty seven days a week (weather dependent) to help provide a safe and inclusive space for everyone at the skatepark. They will also help teach new skills and welcome new riders.
“A lot of it is just hanging out with the kids and making them feel safe and welcomed,” said DeChamp.
“It’s great seeing them smile and have a good time,” he added.
DeChamp has been a fixture at the skatepark for the past 11 years and takes part in scootering. He said having the ambassador program has helped quite a bit with the community.
“I think it makes our skatepark look a lot better to parents and the community in general because in the past the skatepark has always been looked down upon because of the people that go there and the attention they used to draw.”
Dodman, who has lived in Sylvan Lake his entire life, has found his passion in biking and enjoys being an ambassador.
“I honestly love it a lot,” he said.
Growing up at the skatepark since a very young age, Dodman has quite the experience in his sport.
“When Shake the Lake was a thing in Sylvan I was the first person to go into it as the youngest person.”
The program usually runs from May to August, but this year they had a late start and began in June. Those selected as candidates for this paid position went through an interview process and needed to have some knowledge of the skatepark.
“They have to have some experience at the skatepark, so having some knowledge and skills in skateboarding or scootering or biking so that they are able to coach and teach skills to the kids that are there,” said FCSS youth services supervisor Krista Carlson.
She said they were also looking for those who are community-minded who want to see a positive impact in the skatepark.
“We were very fortunate to have two fixtures in our skate park who have been around for a long time and it was a pretty easy selection because of that.”