An Interview With Frank Henn Of SkateMS
Ramey’s own Frank Henn is co-director of the SkateMS Foundation, and Anne-Lauren Fratesi sat down to ask him the tough questions.
A-L: So tell us about your organization SkateMS. What are you trying to do?
FH: SkateMS was created to help bring skateboarding in the state of Mississippi to a level it is almost everywhere else. SkateMS gives the skateboarders in Mississippi some unity and a stronger voice. We promote skateboarding throughout the state. We have also created The SkateMS Foundation which has been setup to raise money to build concrete public skateparks in the Central MS area. The foundation also works on programs to give skateboards and safety gear to children that would not normally have access. Once we have a few parks in the area we can offer mentoring programs and skateboarding clinics.
A-L: Is this a local organization or does it reach beyond Mississippi?
FH: No. We are strictly working on helping our home state. We do promote skateboarding events in other states, just to let our local skaters know about what’s going on.
A-L: What type of man power goes into building a skate park?
FH: It takes an entire community to get something like this even started. From the concept stages to the building of the park, then management, maintenance and promotion of the park.
A-L: Are you working on any larger skate park initiatives right now? If so, where would the parks be located?
FH: Currently we are looking at and trying to get two locations. One in Mid-town (behind Milsaps) and another in Broadmeadow. Once we have either of these locations secured we can start applying for grants to build the parks out. Everything we are trying to do is for a Public Concrete Skatepark – open to everyone and anyone to come ride skateboards, with no cost to the end users.
A-L: What can we do to help?
FH: Right now we are looking for tax deductible donations and property. We need highly skilled, creative, and motivated grant writers. We are also selling a double CD compilation consisting of 40 local Jackson artists. It’s two hours long, 40 songs all for $15 that goes directly to our non-profit.
A-L: Is skating safe? Are there benefits?
FH: Skateboarding is safe. More people get hurt fishing each year than they do on skateboards. Traditionally people get hurt their first week of skating because they have not learned how to fall yet. There are numerous benefits to skateboarding. The main benefit is exercise. Skateboarding can help fight obesity and other health related issues in children and adults. It’s something fun to do where you don’t have to have a schedule or a coach to make happen. It’s totally on your own time and skill level.
A-L: Do you think we could put a Skate park up on the Ramey Roof? Is that possible? I see a few lessons in Ramey’s future.
FH: We have already started. We mostly work at night. I’m surprised no one has noticed an extra 50,000 lbs of concrete on the roof.
See more skate photography from Tate Nations here.