Greater Cincinnati The Dads Skate Team trying to make “Christmas a little brighter for local kids” this year.
The group of more than 40 skater dads (and sometimes their kids) started riding together weekly during COVID with the goal of “spreading positivity and good vibes to our communities and bringing smiles to people’s faces.”
They do just that during the holidays by transforming into the “Santa Skate Squad”, donating new skateboards, skate shoes, helmets and other accessories to children in need.
Co-founder Robbie Reider says over email that the Dad Skate Squad started after he and his friend JonBob Willis grabbed their kids’ longboards and “pushed our way down the street” for a drink at a resort – local service. Reider says the duo realized that after being friends for almost two decades, they had never really skated together – so that’s exactly what they did. The following week, they invited a friend to join them for a ride.
“Every Wednesday more dads showed up until it was a ‘thing,'” Reider says. “So why did we find DSS? Because being a dad can be tiring, isolating and sometimes it’s great to skateboard with old and new friends.”
In terms of how dads decided to give back?
“One of the team’s fathers, Jason Margerum, mentioned that skateboarding was a big part of his childhood and it kept him out of trouble and gave him a sense of fun when many other things weren’t fun. Maybe he thought the dads on the team could buy a board or two for some kids in town,” says Reider.
Margerum posed the holiday campaign at Dad Skate Squad this fall and it took off. So far, the crew has raised $3,000 via GoFundMe and Facebook campaigns, as well as direct donations, to get skate swag. Dads also received support from locals Boardshop blacklist, Westwood Skateboard, Galaxy Skate Shop, Never seen, Cincinnati Cruiser and national brand DC shoes.
Right now, Reider says they have 26 boards, helmets, pads, shoes, and “heaps of shirts and swag for the kids,” with donations still rolling in.
The Dad/Santa Skate Squad will distribute their skateboards and accessories to CityLink Center Christmas Market (800 Bank St., West End) from 2:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on December 16 and 17.
“We partner with CityLink because of the ongoing work they do to help families move out of poverty and live sustainably,” says Reider. “They are best in class at equipping people with dignity. Graduates of the CityLink program have the skills to weather the storms life throws and change systemic poverty in their family lines.”
Reider says they’ve also partnered with the Brighton Center in northern Kentucky, as well as other outlets, to donate boards.
“These are kids who like to skateboard but maybe can’t afford new equipment,” Reider says. “Between community and youth service organizations and our relationships, we’re connecting kids who will appreciate a sweet new platform and a bit of skate swag.”
You can always donate to help their cause gofundme.com/f/santaskatesquad.
“In the midst of all the effects of the pandemic – isolation, anxiety, cabin fever, etc. – skateboarding with friends has been an incredible gift. We adults have more control over our lives and sometimes better coping mechanisms than children. For a lot of us, skating is as good as a good therapy session and it’s also a lot cheaper,” Reider says. “To quote Willy Wonka speaking to Charlie towards the end of Charlie and the chocolate factory: ‘Thus shines a good deed in a weary world. We hope the skateboards bring some goodness to the tired world of a good boy.”
Follow the Dad Skate Squad on instagram.com/dadskatesquad for more information.