Skateboarding Saves: Oceanside, CA Support Local Spotlight – Skatepark Respect
Steve Zanco | Skatepark Respect | Oceanside, California
Today we sit down with Steve Zanco of Skatepark Respect. Just as Will Angiulo of Limitless Culture said in the last Q&A about our work at Skateboarding Saves as the heroes work, Skatepark Respect is one in the same and serves local communities on a daily basis.
These days, this kind of work is crucial because if a park gets too trashed, the state (or whatever necessary level for that matter) can step in and shut down that park.
Clearly, that is something that can’t happen!
Skatepark Respect, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (EIN# 82-5378615). We conserve skateparks and skate spots through outreach, cleanup efforts and responsibility within the skateboarding community.
I was lucky enough to hop on a call with Steve and get to know what he has going on, what his plans are and what’s new.
One of the things I LOVE most about Skatepark Respect is their “The Why” Statement:
Now time to get this party started:
Q&A v1.1 with Skatepark Respect
What is a normal day being part of Skatepark Respect?
Some days are spent cleaning local parks or traveling to clean, some are spent speaking with our Skatepark Respect Ambassadors all over the world about their cleanup and community outreach efforts, some are speaking with cities or communities about how to keep skateparks and skate spots clean and maintained.
We see that you are based in Oceanside, CA.
What other Communities do you do outreach for domestically and internationally?
We have Skatepark Respect Ambassadors in 7 countries and 10 US states currently.
We have worked closely (either directly or indirectly) with well over 50 cities and community groups so far, helping over 90 skateparks stay clean and maintained worldwide to date.
We talked about expansion and building a rep on the East Coast.
You know we’re on board, but how can others get involved?
If you are interested in helping your community clean up the skateparks, simply start doing it.
The actions of one person can start a groundswell movement within your community. Our ambassador program is something a little larger, where we work closely with those great folks to spread the message and act as extensions of our organizations with their local communities.
Our Skatepark Respect Ambassadors are vetted through some questions and discussions about examples of their efforts. We try and spread them out so as not to overlap too much to have a stronger impact on a larger geographical area. Amazingly, we have many people reach out to join the cause.
Powell Peralta, Bones, Mini Logo and SkateOne really embrace your effort.
Can you tell us what it’s like to work with such a great brand line-up?
The team at Powell Peralta/Bones/Mini Logo/SkateOne have been amazing supporters. Jersey is the man! He has been at many of our events and they support our efforts shoulder to shoulder and with supporting our fundraising and event raffles.
Switching gears, what is the grossest thing that you have ever witnessed being a part of Skatepark Respect?
When we travel for events and to work with cities, we really get to know the people and see how truly caring people are.
We have hung out personally with many of them and can call them true friends from our adventures together. We do clean up many crazy items and gross materials/fluids.
Some are downright disgusting. We have had people passed out in the bowls partying who have soiled themselves and drag it through the bowls. We have had bowls full of baby frogs who have been run over from skating. Urban jellyfish (used condoms) aplenty. It’s not a glamorous as it seems. HAHA.
On a serious note, what is the proudest moment or achievement of Skatepark Respect in your opinion?
Our proudest moments are when we can help break a stereotype about skaters with the cities or communities. Not all skaters want to thrash the parks.
Not all skaters are taggers. Not all skaters are criminals, but these are how some folks see us.
When we can share positive experiences and show each other that we care, we can work together more. Perceptions are not reality and to break down those preconceived notions is awesome.
We have been part of skatepark anniversaries, handed out awards to community leaders, been featured on podcasts, and more, but the best feeling is bringing people together and knowing you are doing your part to make the (skating) world a better place.
Out of curiosity, have you ever been given shit by any locals for trying to clean up their skatepark?
Absolutely. Almost every time actually. We struggle with this all the time, the skate is punk/skate and destroy/anti-establishment versus the making things better so they last.
It is a fine line. It is not punk to clean up something. It is not perceived as cool. Some locals get aggressive but we have always been able to talk to them and share that we are not against them or anything. We just want the place to stay around for all to enjoy longer. Some are more of a challenge than others but we feel that they all want what is best for the parks ultimately.
So when it comes to graffiti, do you have individuals that give input on what goes vs. what stays?
Sometimes. You can usually tell the tags versus the art. Some is not as easy to distinguish.
Of course, racial or hate scribbles gotta go. The cities will usually have a large say in that part and for the most part, they do much of the removal. Overall, the city crews have been great to work with and quick to respond to removal efforts.
On that topic, and being a huge nerd for branding, I love yours!
Who is the visionary behind the brand? Or is it a collaborative effort?
Thanks! The brand and branding was mine and a graphics genius, Ben Rivera.
We wanted to make it able to be a stencil, sticker, sign, shirt, and for print easily and in one color. Simple is always best.
What’s on tap for 2021?
This year has many things in the works so far. Now that things are opening back up, we are having more events and working with many cities on big projects.
We are attending more skate events and working on raising funds through sponsorship programs, grants, and more.
We are working with more potential ambassadors around the world and learning more about the various cultures to best work with those. We have been partnering with many other great organizations to expand our reach and impact.
Anything you want to say in concussion?
Thanks for the sit-down. It was great getting to know you and share our story. We love the skating community and want to do all we can to help it thrive.
Skateparks and skate spots should be preserved and treated like the treasures they are. To help the cause and donate, visit our website www.skateparkrespect.org and share the message with others.
Everyone can make a difference.