June 24,  2008

New island skate park is a labor of love and faith – and a big hit with young folks


Sitting nestled among the hodgepodge of homes, churches, and small businesses that make up the village of Frisco, is a large, two-story brown steel building marked with a small unassuming chalkboard sign. The sign reads, “Skate 6-9 Fri., Sat., Sun.”  It indicates to local youth the time and place that their weekend fun begins. It marks Three 1 Six Indoor Skate Park.

Three 1 Six, known to many island skaters simply as “the skate park,” is the only indoor skate park on the island, and it has attracted the attention of skaters young and old, novice and experts alike. For many island youth it has become their mainstay “hang out” throughout the year. This is its story.

The idea for Three 1 Six first surfaced about four years ago. It began with a small group of islanders who met to pray. They met because they felt a specific burden on their hearts to reach out to the youth on Hatteras Island in a relevant way. Their desire was to provide a safe, positive, God-centered environment that would be fun, laid-back, and would give kids something to do. The group felt that an indoor skate park and youth center would be the best possible outreach to island youth.

When asked how the vision of the park came about, John Head, of Frisco, and volunteer at the park simply said, “Prayer.” He then continued, “God has a design for His purposes and not ours. The only reason that the park is here is because of the Lord. Why are we here? We love the Lord, and we love the kids of the Island.”

Construction of the building began in 2005 and was completed by Easter of 2006. Construction of the skate park began in 2007. It goes without saying that designing a skate park is a tedious task requiring skill, ingenuity, a thorough knowledge of skating, and, above all, patience. From its start Three 1 Six was designed, laid out, and built as a complete labor of love. Every aspect of the course was fashioned under the hands of volunteers with a passion for skating, the youth of the Island, and their faith.

Dedicated local volunteers, as well as work teams from Florida, South Carolina, and Wilmington, N.C, have donated countless hours of labor.  Local businesses have offered their services at no expense, and local churches have supported the construction with funds, manpower, and prayer. Three 1 Six is truly a community collaboration.

To the untrained eye the skate park is an impressive sight, but for the skater it is also a dream come true.  Walking into the park, one is engulfed by mountainous skate ramps and walls. Every corner of the 2,500-square-foot room is filled with the twists, turns, and drops that equal a skater’s paradise. The park is equipped with an 8-foot bowl section with pool coping; a 4-foot pyramid box with a 2-foot quarter pipe bowl on top with concrete coping; a 10-foot vertical wall, and a 8-foot quarter pipe that breaks down into 6- and then 4-foot quarter pipes; an 8-foot roll in; and a 2-foot quarter pipe with metal copings.

The additional 3,000-square-foot building was designed to be a “youth” or “community” center. When completed, the building will house a soundproof music room, game room, lodging for youth groups or mission teams, and a commercial grade kitchen, which can be used to feed large numbers of people in emergency situations. Future plans also include an after-school tutoring program and daily afternoon skate sessions.

Since opening in 2007, the park has seen hundreds of skaters come through the doors. Many local youth spend every free moment they can at the park. When asked his thoughts about the park, Isaac Copes of Frisco, said, “I usually go every weekend or every day that it is open. It is sweet, really fun. A lot of good guys are there and cool chaperones. They’re awesome -- always chill and there for us. If you don’t go, you should start to come.”

Michael Kyrrianis, 16, of Buxton, said, “It is fun. Crazy. It is the best place to hang out on the island.”

John Head, park volunteer, commented on the youth that the park is attracting.

“It is a challenge,” he said. “These kids are wide-open. Many of them are struggling with addictions to alcohol and drugs. They are kids. They are rough around the edges, but they need a place to play, to have fun. And we are called to be there for them. The skate park provides a Christian environment that meets the kids where they are. It is first and foremost a place that represents the moral absolutes in the love of Jesus Christ. Secondly, the park provides a drug- and alcohol-free environment. Thirdly, it is fun.”

The original name for the park was “The Shred Shed.” Though this captured the essence of skateboarding, it didn’t express the full mission of the park. Park organizers then changed the name to Three 1 Six, representing the park mission and scripture John 3:16.
The scripture reads, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
The impact of the park is clearly evident both locally and internationally. Seven skaters from the park traveled to Costa Rica in May of this year to work with locals in the village of Ostional to repair the local church. Tanner Powers, Michael and Alex Kyrrianis, Ben Crum, John McCormack, Bob McBride, and Daniel Pullen, spent more than a week in the village working, surfing, and getting to know the local youth of Ostional.

In a culture where reality is sometimes defined by self-serving desires, Three 1 Six stands to test the status quo.  For the 13-year-old who loves skating and needs something to do on the weekend, it is “the coolest place on the island.” For the young adults struggling to stay out of trouble, it is a “safe haven” where they can have fun and be in a positive environment. For the adult volunteers, it is a place where they can have a positive impact on a young person’s life forever.

On Saturday, June 21, the park had its first big event, a Skateboarding and Music Fest, to celebrate International Go Skateboarding Day. Folks traveled from afar to join in the festivities. The event was organized by Jerry Rosell and was supported by many local volunteers. Publicized as a free family event, the evening attracted the young and old, novice and expert skaters as well as spectators. 

The event began at 5 p.m. with "open" skateboarding sessions for all ages. At 6, volunteers served up hamburgers, hotdogs, and fixings to the hungry crowd. After dinner, the skating continued with demos from pro skaters and a raffle. Kristian Head of Frisco walked away with the grand prize -- a new surfboard. After the raffle, the crowd waited eagerly for Christian rock band Revolution Radio to take the stage. The crowd of more than 100 was pumped, dancing and signing along as the band played a montage of original work and covers, even throwing in their own rendition of Johnny Cash's “Folsom Prison Blues.” The band was followed by local talent, The Sandy Skywater Band featuring Joey Crum, Brett Barley, Matt Munden, and Sabrina Caldwell.
Three 1 Six plans more events in the future.

If you want to go to or help the skate park

The skate park is currently open Friday through Sunday from 6 until 9 p.m. All are welcome. All skate park rules and regulations must be followed. Medical and liability waivers must be signed before skaters can skate. Skaters under 18 years of age must have a legal guardian sign the waiver. (No exceptions to this rule!)  Helmets and knee and elbow pads are provided. Helmets must be worn at all times and must remain buckled. The skate park is a kid friendly alcohol- and drug-free environment.

The park is open only when responsible adults supervise it. Adults are needed to volunteer a few hours a week so that summer hours can be extended. If you are interested in volunteering time, making a monetary contribution, or finding more information out about Three 1 Six, contact John at (252) 216-7807.

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