Friday, 02 March 2018 05:47

From wheels and rails to lumber and nails for MHSA

Written by  Jamie Rieger
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Members of the Medicine Hat Skateboard Association will be heading back to Ensenada, Mexico at the end of March to build homes for the less fortunate. A fundraiser will be held at The Summit in Medicine Hat on March 4 to raise some money for the trip. Members of the Medicine Hat Skateboard Association will be heading back to Ensenada, Mexico at the end of March to build homes for the less fortunate. A fundraiser will be held at The Summit in Medicine Hat on March 4 to raise some money for the trip. Contributed

There's more to life than noseslides, McTwists, and kickflips for a group of Medicine Hat skateboarders, who have dedicated themselves as much to giving to the community as they do to getting big air and nailing challenging tricks.


For more than a decade, members of the Medicine Hat Skateboard Association have become noted for their humanitarian efforts around the community and have taken their efforts far beyond the boundaries of the Gas City. In 2008, they traveled to Africa where they drilled water wells and did repair work in orphanages. A few years later, they were in Ensenada, Mexico to build homes for families in need. They will be returning to Ensenada at the end of March to continue working on projects, thanks to a partnership formed between them and a youth ministry group.
"Back in 2006-07, we got together and talked about how we were doing things around the community and wanted to expand on that," said Wasey Mowat. "We got connected with YWAM (Youth With a Mission) and they told us they would love for us to come do some work with them."
YWAM is a global Christian-based youth organization that does mission work at 1,100 locations in 180 countries around the world. Besides building houses, YWAM outreach opportunities include performing arts teams, evangelism, medical assistants, teachers, sports teams, and intercession teams.
For their trip to Mexico, they took 40 members to Ensenada and Mowat said the experience was an eye-opener for everybody.
"It was crazy. Living in Canada, it's so nice here. Go there and the whole world turns upside down. We are very fortunate to live where we do," he said.
And, the local residents were surprised to have a large group from Alberta coming to help them.
"At first, they were like, why  would 40 skateboarders from Medicine Hat want to come to build houses," said Mowat. "The families were watching us work, watching it come together and they wanted to help, but we just told them that we were there to do that for them. It was very emotional when we handed them the keys," said Mowat.
On March 30, a group of about 30 MHSA members will be going back to Ensenada to build a few more homes, each of which costs approximately $9,000 to construct and to work on expanding a women's home that is for women escaping human trafficking.
Through YWAM, they are able to purchase all the necessary materials needed for the buildings.
"We pay for the materials through YWAM and they have it all hooked up for us. The guys there are very experienced in what they do," said Mowat.
Each member must raise $600 themselves for the trip, but Mowat said the support from the community over the years has been tremendous.
"(For previous trips) we did tons of bottle drives and fundraisers, anything we needed to do to raise the money," he said. "People were so supportive and believed in us and what we were doing. The Medicine Hat support has been amazing. We get feedback from all directions. We've been doing this for 11-12 years now and we still stick to our roots. We are very fortunate."
The group holds regular bottle drives for their endeavours and will be holding a fundraiser on March 4 to help raise money.
A silent auction will be held at The Summit Art and Sport Centre (Bay #2 221 North, N Railway St.)  in Medicine Hat on Sunday, March 4 to raise money. The event starts at 6 pm, with all proceeds from the fundraiser will be going to help pay for the cost of the trip. Businesses wanting to donate an item or gift certificate for the silent auction can send a direct message to the Medicine Hat Skateboard Association's Facebook page, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or phone Terence Kowalchuk at 403-928-2181.

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