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Recreation

Local Skateboard Nonprofit Hires New Executive Director, Expands Hours

Serious JuJu offers free meals and indoor skate park for kids often facing difficult situations at home, including hunger, addiction and neglect

By Tristan Scott
A skateboarder with Serious JuJu Skateboard Park at Woodland Park in Kalispell. Beacon file photo

As western Montana’s only indoor skatepark, Serious JuJu Skateboard Park has worked for more than 15 years to expand its reach and appeal to a broader segment of Flathead Valley youth, overcoming setbacks and stumbling blocks to keep rolling forward.

After losing the warehouse that hosted its indoor skate gatherings in 2012, Serious JuJu was forced to set up in parking lots, including at partner churches, a perpetual interregnum that bred constant uncertainty.

In 2021, the organization seized on an opportunity for a permanent home and the skatepark moved to the Gateway Mall. Earlier this year, the program hired Randy Beckstrom as the skatepark’s full-time operations manager, enabling it to expand its staff and operational hours from two to five days a week to better serve Flathead-area skateboarders.

Beckstrom started volunteering at the park 15 years ago and now oversees the skatepark, along with Executive Director Rebecca Wilson. The park caters to local kids from all areas and backgrounds, according to Beckstrom, and serves more than 1,000 youth each year.

“Our skaters and volunteers come from all over — from Whitefish to Polson, and from Kila to Bozeman,” Beckstrom stated in a press release announcing the new developments.

Beckstrom emphasized the park’s safe environment, which provides adult supervision at all times and helmets to those who need them. Also, no skating experience is necessary.

“You don’t even need to know how to stand on a board,” he said. “Often the older kids help teach younger ones the park’s code of ethics as well as basic moves or the latest tricks.”

Serious JuJu is also free, thanks in part to financial support from area churches, community members, and a recent grant from the Gianforte Family Foundation. A signed waiver is required, as is parental consent for skaters under age 18. 

According to Beckstrom, the skatepark offers another critical advantage during the summer months — it’s air conditioned, offering climate control from summer heat, storms and fire season. Beckstrom added that Serious JuJu also provides healthful meals and snacks to skaters. “We welcome meals and snacks from the community, as well as donations to support operations.” 

Wilson and Beckstrom said the program is seeking volunteers and prospective board members to build on their current network.

“Our volunteers are here because of their love for the kids. These amazing people help create a warm and inclusive space. Together, we see, feed, and strengthen youths and their families,” Wilson said, noting that many volunteers previously skated at the park as kids. 

“It’s all about the kids,” she added. “Many are quiet and cautious; sometimes it’s a slow process for kids to let you in. Just having everyday conversations about how school is going, or the music being played can begin to build a relationship, and these relationships create a community.”

To learn more about Serious JuJu’s story (beyond its expanded operations) visit https://www.seriousjuju.com/skater-spotlight.

For more information about Serious JuJu, or to volunteer, email [email protected] or call (406) 885.4566. 

Skatepark Schedule

  • Open Skate is offered Tuesday through Thursday 6-8 p.m.
  • Beginners Only Skate takes place Monday 6-8 p.m. and Thursday 3:30-5:30 p.m.
  • Private party reservations are available each Friday and Saturday

Editor’s Note: There were some errors in the original version of this article based on outdated information. The Beacon corrected those errors, as well made changes following receipt of an updated press release. We regret the errors.

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