Taking action sports to a new level: Group offers faith-based mentorship for skating, wakeboarding and moreDoes your child love to ski – on both snow and water? How about wakeboarding or wake surfing or snowboarding? Does your child like to spend time at the skate park? Gary Anderson of Alexandria hopes the answer to these questions is yes. Anderson is the president of a relatively new organization in town called Action Sports Ministries.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
Does your child love to ski – on both snow and water?
How about wakeboarding or wake surfing or snowboarding?
Does your child like to spend time at the skate park?
Gary Anderson of Alexandria hopes the answer to these questions is yes.
Anderson is the president of a relatively new organization in town called Action Sports Ministries.
The group, which was first formed back in 2003 by Chris Runge, was taken over by Anderson almost two years ago.
The 501(c)(3) non-profit organization was created out of a desire to see youth in the community become involved in an exciting faith-based line-up of action sport activities, such as snowboarding, wakeboarding, skateboarding, etc.
Anderson said the goal of the organization is to provide faith-based mentorship for youth through action sports.
Sports, he added, that are non-mainstream and non-high school.
Action Sports Ministries was set up as a non-profit group so that it can accept donations and apply for grants. The money is then used for students to purchase equipment, pay for lessons or to participate in programs that they might not otherwise be able to.
Funding is also used for starting new clubs and programs, said Anderson.
Some of the clubs and programs sponsored by Action Sports Ministries include Wakn’ Up Watersports, which is a wakeboard program and Foundation 7:25, which is a snowboard club. There is also a skateboard program called Sessions Skateboard Clinic.
The wakeboard program is offered to all youth between the ages of 11 and 15 and the snowboard program is offered to all youth between the ages of 8 and 18. The skateboard program is open to youth of all ages, said Anderson, noting that Sessions Skateboard program takes place every Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Alexandria Skate Park on Fillmore Street.
The cost to join is $60 for the whole summer. If students are interested in joining the program, but can’t afford it, Action Sports Ministries can help, said Anderson. They can fund the program through the donations it receives.
The Wakn’ Up wakeboarding program takes place every Tuesday from 3:30 to 9 p.m. at various locations around the county. Anyone interested in the program should call Anderson at (320) 815-5187. Although the program has already started for this year, Anderson said there is still room for a few more kids. The cost for this program is $250.
There is also a newer club called 5-0 Wake Surfing, which Anderson said is “real surfing, but behind a boat.”
All programs have coaches, he noted. The coaches and volunteers who work with Action Sports Ministries represent some of the region’s most talented and spiritually grounded athletes, according to Anderson. He noted that there are about five coaches for the wakeboarding programs, two for the skateboarding program and two for the wake surfing program.
Anderson said that the clubs supported by Action Sports Ministries are faith-based and will include Bible lessons from time-to-time and non-denominational faith testimonies from group members or coaches.
“We like to share faith stories,” he said. “We are faith-based, but not preachy.”
Besides Anderson, who is president of the club, there are seven other board members.
Brochures to learn more about Action Sports Ministries can be found at various locations around the county, including The Faction Board Shop in downtown Alexandria.
More information about the group can be found on its website at www.rideinspired.org.
Any further questions can be directed to Gary Anderson by calling him at (320) 815-5187 or by sending him an e-mail at email@example.com.