Sooke woman gives back to community

Outreach from the community inspires local woman to organize skateboard fundraiser

A Sooke woman, whose home was devoured by flames, is giving back to the community after residents reached out to her family in their time of need.

Kristie Smedley and her two sons Merrick and Zack Orr, saw a fire rip through their trailer home on 6647 Sooke Road on Feb. 4. Although the ordeal was tragic, Smedley said outreach from the community eclipsed the devastation.

“The support was amazing coming from the community to help my sons and I rebuild our lives,” she said. “Everybody was so concerned… I didn’t want for anything.”

To express her gratitude, Smedley, along with friends, organized the first annual Help Send a Kid to Skate Camp event.  The competition will gather funds to sponsor two underprivileged local skaters or extreme cyclists for summer recreational programs at the world renowned Camp Woodward. The camp has five locations in the U.S. and one in Beijing.

She said young, action sport enthusiasts who have experienced trauma or financial difficulty would be eligible for funding.

Smedley is hoping to raise $2,000 from the event, which would fund one week at the Camp Woodward for two kids. There will be a bottle drive, raffle, and food by donation.

Smedley has been skating since she was six years old, competing in competitions all over the Island. Her talents and interest have naturally passed onto her two sons, namely 12-year-old Merrick, who after the fire, invested his time and energy into skateboarding.

“He completely turned that negative into a positive and put all his effort into skateboarding,” she said.

After Merrick expressed an interest in attending the U.S. skate camp, Smedley thought of all the other disenfranchised youth in town who should also be given a chance.

“You know, we’re not a rich town and I started thinking of all the other kids who would benefit from having a little hope in their lives,” she said.

 

The event is scheduled for April 14, and registration will be at noon with a $5 entry fee. There will be five divisions, and various prizes will be awarded to winners.