Skateboarding and Drupal ‘Collide’ For Public Good
What happens when two passions, one for skateboarding, one for Drupal collide? Read the details below, and learn how, now with help from Acquia, the result of this “collision” is geared for great success.
Let’s begin at the beginning: In 1995, Long Beach Council member Mike Donelon was getting multiple calls from a constituent complaining about skateboarders in front of their house. In researching the situation and talking to the kids involved, they told him they had no where to skate legally, safely and hassle free. The need -- and benefit -- of a public skatepark quickly became apparent. The Council member organized the community, got the kids involved in the planning, even helped tackled legal issues regarding liability statewide and a park was finally opened in 2000. El Dorado Skatepark was the first of eight skateparks to be built under the successful skatepark program in the city of Long Beach, CA, with two more parks being planned for 2014.
After he left office, Mike evolved the skatepark program into a non-profit called Action Sports Kids Foundation, aka ASK Long Beach. The success of skateparks isn’t just a city building a park and walking away, but involves using the parks as outdoor community centers, a conduit to young people, where outreach could happen to at-risk youth, regular events and contests could occur and keep the youth engaged in community and activism. Using skill set and knowledge to give back to the community. Sound familiar, Drupal folk? ;)
Let’s step back for a moment and emphasize the points made above. Any investment in a public facility has the potential for great benefit to the community where the facility is built. Whether it be a park, public library, school and so on, these facilities are living, breathing entities whose success depends on community involvement and maintenance (with the skate-geek side note that any well-built concrete skatepark requires VERY little maintenance -- hint hint, wink wink to all park planners out there. ;) ) The obvious parallel is with the open-source community. Any successful open source project isn’t just built and then the creators walk away from the code. A good project nurtures the community, allows users to refine code and engage.
In 2011 is where open-source Drupal collides with community non-profit ASK Long Beach. As a skater myself, I was looking for a way to utilize my Drupal skills with something involving skateboarding. Upon discovering ASK, I realized that much like people give back to the Drupal community, this was a perfect opportunity to give back and flex some some web dev chops to a worthy non-profit.
ASK’s web presence was in its infancy and they badly needed a professional looking site to appeal to potential donors. Because Drupal is a great solution for a non-profit website, I asked if I could take a stab at building a new site for them, and we formulated a plan. Our goal was to offer a clean interface with mission statement front and center, carefully chosen pictures of visually striking images of young people in skateparks, event listings, blog posts, videos and aggregate for ASK’s social media presence. The new site was launched in the winter of 2012, and I’m happy to say has been the “face” of the organization that has helped cement solid relationships within the community. The site has been a success and great central resource that the kids, as well as influential city leaders could keep abreast of the non-profit activities.
This has been an amazing year for ASK Long Beach. In addition to continuing the successful summer contest series, the non-profit has forged new partnerships with leading civic organizations, as well as being recognized the Tony Hawk Foundation as one of the leading models in the country on how to run a skatepark program.
Among the great modules that we used in constructing the site, the Entity Registration module was critical in helping us to sign up contestants. This allowed kids to sign up and get excited for the event as well as help staff plan the logistics of our events. Modules like this keep us going and allow us to plan for even bigger events next year.
In the fall of 2013, we were proud to have Acquia help with hosting for our site. Personally, as a Drupal developer, being able to get my hands dirty with Acquia’s suite of world-class tools and services is a dream come true. But more importantly, Acquia’s services will help us to grow the site dramatically as we anticipate a stellar year for ASK, which will include partnerships with other nationally-known non-profits, even more events and contests than last year, the debut of the ASK skate team, and development of new programs to help the at-risk youth of the area.
ASK Long Beach thanks Acquia for their generosity and we look forward to proudly using your tools for a very exciting new year.
The story of ASK Long Beach is hard to encapsulate in one blog post. Sometimes, images and video do a much better job and I highly encourage watching the following video produced for us last year: