NAPA — More than 30 children came to the Napa Skate Park on Sunday morning, many already equipped with their elbow and knee pads and their sticker-swathed helmets. But before a single skateboard turned a wheel on the concrete bowls and steel rails, the girls and boys lined up at a folding table for their main business of the day.
Under numerous pairs of small hands, an array of water bottles, toothbrushes, toothpaste, trail mix and Ziploc bags became 240 supply kits for homeless people in Napa. By that afternoon, the packages would be dropped off at the South Napa Shelter a mile and a half north.
It would be the latest good deed on the Feed the Need Tour, a five-city West Coast excursion by the Southern California group Skate Rising. At each stop of the tour, which began July Fourth in Scotts Valley and concludes Saturday in Eugene, Oregon, its organizer has sought to create a welcoming place for young female skateboarders, while also helping local people in need.
Calli Kelsay, a mother of four from the coastal San Diego suburb of Encinitas, founded Skate Rising in 2016 as a monthly program in her hometown after her two oldest daughters, then 7 and 5, took up the sport.
“We decided to get them skateboards when it was too cold to surf,” Kelsay said last week. “Right away I saw the positive life lessons that came from skateboarding, like falling and getting back up, to get what you want, to work hard, to push through your fear. The confidence that comes from skateboarding has been so positive and wonderful for them.”