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Youth ministry trying to locate skateboards for locals, outreach

HIGHLAND LAKES — A skateboard drive is gearing up to help children who need a board or other equipment, according to officials with Civic and Ministry Professionals United for Students.

At the same time, CAMPUS hopes to spread the word about Christianity. 

Group leaders said they are looking for donations of boards and parts.

“We have a lot of kids who want to skate but either don’t have a board or the one they have is in disrepair,” said Gary Johnson, CAMPUS director. “So we decided to have this skateboard drive to help some of the kids out.”

CAMPUS sponsors regular trips to skateparks around Central and Southeast Texas for Highland Lakes youth. Since this is a Christian youth program, the trips often involve an outreach effort, Johnson said.

The next CAMPUS Xtreme skate trip/mission is scheduled for Oct. 17-19 with stops in Killeen, Temple, Liberty Hill and Burnet.

For more information on donating a skateboard or parts, or for more information on the ministry, visit the Web site at

During the summer, a group of youth on a CAMPUS Xtreme trip to the Texas coast eventually fell back to the Houston area. Johnson said the kids actually renamed the trip “skate mission” because the leaders provided insight about their Christian faith to others they met on many occasions.

The skateboard drive will also benefit youth in other areas as CAMPUS Xtreme takes mission trips, Johnson said.

“One of our trips we’re planning is a mission trip to the El Paso area,” he said. “There’s a large population of kids there who like to skate. But not all of them can afford a board. So one of the things the skate drive will help is with outreach. We can go into those areas, we’ll take some extra boards with us.”

Along with full boards, Johnson said they are looking for parts as well.

“We could use decks, trucks and wheels,” Johnson said. “Sometimes we’ll go somewhere and I’ll look at a board a kid has and tell him I can’t let him skate on that. So, we’ll end up sharing boards.”

Through the ministry, Johnson said he hopes to break down stereotypes of both skaters and non-skaters.

“Sometimes people look at skaters and think they’re trouble,” he said. “But they’re just kids who love to skate.”

Johnson said he’s also found a warm reception from skaters, though he’s not one himself.

“It’s amazing the acceptance. I’m not a skater. I don’t look like a skater but just the simple act of showing up with water to give them— it’s amazing the ground you can break,” he said. “It’s not so much about being a coach, but being an advocate.”

Though there are skateparks in Marble Falls and Burnet, CAMPUS Xtreme members also enjoy taking trips to other cities with developed parks.

One of the things the CAMPUS leaders and youth do when attending other parks is tell the skaters and people they meet who they are and what the organization does, Johnson said.

“So, it’s more than just skating,” he said. “It’s just like your typical youth minister who goes to football games, basketball games or other events. We just go to skate parks. I think there’s a large group of those kids getting overlooked.”

As for the skateboard drive, Johnson said the boards don’t have to be brand new, just in good shape.

“We’re also still pushing for a van. We’re getting closer but we sometimes have to limit the number of kids we can take on the trips because we don’t have enough room,” he said.