Saugerties has been hopping with big events lately: the Fourth of July celebration and fireworks, the Hudson Project, First Friday, art shows and HITS, among others. With so many events, sometimes humble little undertakings that occur without fanfare and are staffed by volunteers fly under the radar.
One such event was held July 5: An all-day skateboard competition for teens at the Saugerties Skatepark. It was organized by Nicholas and Noah Rubitone to raise money for the skate park fund, which will be put toward an expansion of the park.
Noah got sponsorship and prizes for the competition from Seasons Skate Shop in Albany. Together with friends, the teens publicized the event the old-fashioned way, with posters hung on lampposts and word of mouth among their peers. Skaters from Albany, Woodstock, Catskill and Kingston came to the park to sign in for beginner, intermediate and expert categories of competition. For the next four hours, 20 skating teens used their energy in an athletic contest which generated “oohs” and “aahs” from observers.
There was no music and no fanfare, but a large crowd of interested teens and adults watched the skillful athletes roll on. Between contests, Noah sold raffle tickets for the large amount of skater gear Seasons donated. Winners left with a skateboard deck, wheels, t-shirts and hoodies. Raffle winners left with various items of merchandise.
The total amount of money generated was small in contrast to other, bigger Saugerties events. At the end of the day, Noah presented Parks Superintendent Greg Chorvas with $200 for the skate park fund.
The skate park is a model of community cooperation in action. In the years leading up to its formal dedication in 2010, fundraising efforts were done by founding members of the skateboard park initiative Jasper Khan, Jake Brayton, Keith Bronson, Chris Whittaker and Noah Schneidman. The Saugerties Kiwanis Club matched the $20,000 that group raised, and together with a $100,000 state grant, funded the park’s construction.
It was the efforts of the original committee and the example of what a small group can accomplish that motivated Nicholas and Noah to continue in the tradition of Saugerties citizens getting the job done. Chorvas congratulated the teens for their effort and industry and noted that it is not the big things that make a community, but rather the small and almost anonymous efforts of everyday folks.