Philly skateboard instructors pay it forward with youth summer camp

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Friday, June 30, 2023
Philly skateboard instructors pay it forward with youth summer camp
Tyrone Williams and his mentor, AJ Kohn, are joining forces to teach Philadelphia children how to skateboard this summer.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "When I was 13, I was skating at Whitehall Skatepark," said Tyrone Williams. "I seen AJ, and when I seen him skating, I had to come up and introduce myself and ask to learn the tricks."

AJ Kohn, a competitive skateboarder, looked out for Williams and helped to teach him more than just the fundamentals.

"He kind of just took me under his wing, and just started teaching me skateboarding tricks and teaching me about life as well all the way up to an adult now," said Williams. "Nobody was there for me like AJ was."

In the 2000s, Kohn started a program to teach children how to skateboard after school. It grew over the years and eventually became the Skateboard Academy of Philadelphia, which is headquartered in Port Richmond.

"We do lessons, we do community events, we do assemblies, and today we actually have one of our summer camps," said Kohn. "So, we make it accessible to anybody who wants to come in and skate."

Today was the final day in a week of skateboard training at Rizzo Rink beneath I-95 in South Philadelphia. Throughout the summer, kids will have a chance to join other summer camps in the surrounding areas. Kohn and Williams also bring edutainment to local kids in the form of workshops and assemblies involving science, physics, safety, anti-bullying and more.

"Well, you're teaching them about life and to try something new and push their boundaries," said Kohn. "And this is how progression happens in all aspects of life."

To learn more about the Skateboard Academy of Philadelphia and how to get involved, visit their website.

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