Here at Alchemy we are surrounded by talented, passionate skaters that not only rip, but give back to their community. So, every month, we like to feature one of our skaters and thank them for the incredible work they are doing both on and off board for their community.
Skater of the Month: November
Another month, and another skater of the month! This November we are excited to tell you about our dude Keegan Masters.
Keegan has been an active volunteer with Alchemy for a couple of years now, and it has been a blast working with him. He is a creative sort and loves to use skating and building ramps as an outlet for his free thinking and “break the mold” approach to life. Skating with Keegan is nothing short of pure enthusiasm and inventiveness and anyone who’s ever skated with him will attest to his ability to get you to change your approach to spots and tricks in ways you never would have thought possible.
As fun as it is to skate with Keegan, it is even more so working with the guy. His dedication to the job is unparalleled, and he has helped out with almost all of the park rebuilds. He keeps us on our toes and our brains spinning with new and fun ideas to share with the skate community. It’s hard to imagine our park and our lives without Keegan.
Keegan has been places in our skatepark that no mere-mortal dare tread just to fix up the ramps. He's made it under every deck, behind every quarter pipe, and managed to make it out alive after several dust bunny attacks.
With our without Alchemy, Keegan is pursuing all that skateboarding has to offer him, and generously shares what he finds with us. We have a hand poured curb made by Keegan and instead of just donating the curb, he even shared his mold with us so that if we want we can continue to produce them.
Although Keegan never officially joined our S.A.L.T. program, that did not stop him from helping us at every turn. Keegan has been as active, if not more so, than many of our regular volunteers and has helped us run the indoor park every Sunday for about a year. Dedication, integrity, creativity, and fun are just a few words that come to mind when we think about Keegan and working with him.
We could go on and on, but we would rather let other people in the community speak on our behalf for the rad-ness that is: Keegan Masters:
"Most creative people I’ve met are a lot of ideas and talk, everything is theoretical, but Keegan is a “get it done” type of guy. In my experience it is very rare to find someone as open minded and innovative that can still work hard and follow through on projects. Keegan is the real deal, and I’m stoked I get to work with the dude.”
-Taylor Woodruff Program Director
“He’s wild. He goes for crazy tricks all the time. I don’t talk to him all too often, but he's a very cool dude”
-Elias Peters Former SALT member.
"Keegan best demonstrates his character through his work ethic. We all know Keegan is a master of creativity and individuality but his strong follow through and determination is really what defines Keegan in my point of view. You can see this in his skating. Keegan will try a trick that I have never seen before and fully commit to it until he sticks it."
-Rory Mitchel Grindhouse Store Manager
“He is one of the most creative people I’ve ever met. If he sets his mind to something, he will do it even if it’s 1 in the morning, he’ll get it done. At the same time, I’ve seen this man sleep in until 5pm on a Monday, you can never lock the man down.”
-Bailey Walker Founding SALT Member
“He’s one weird skater. He has the most unique style I’ve ever seen.”
-Carlos Ortiz Local Skater
Skater of the Month: October
It's hard to explain the impact Bailey Walker's presence has on Alchemy.
Bailey has been around from the beginning, showing his commitment to Alchemy's mission by volunteering his time and energy. His focus, grit, and determination as a skater are motivating, and his ability to connect with people make him a community-building powerhouse! He inspires confidence and eagerness in our youth participants and anyone he skates with.
From sweeping the park to traveling the world with us, Bailey has done it all at Alchemy. Last January, Alchemy staff had the pleasure of traveling to England and Denmark with Bailey. We visited European skate organizations and had an incredible time skating, talking about our work, and making new friends. Bailey networked everywhere we went. He talked with local skaters about the best skate spots and with community organizers to get a better understanding of the shared work we all undertake as skate-focused organizations.
If we had to distill all of Bailey's great characteristics down to one thing, it would be this; Bailey has proven time and time again his commitment to the organization. There were periods where he did not have access to a car, but would still manage to take multiple buses from Puyallup at odd hours just to be able to attend meetings and volunteer. We can't imagine Alchemy without you, Bailey.
Thank you for all of the hard work and your contributions to this incredible community. Here's what they have to say about you:
"Bailey has been here since the very beginning. As a high schooler he committed to the community and the organization and played a major role in Alchemy as a whole." -Ben Warner, Executive Director
"Bailey is a powerful communicator and has gone through more in his life than most, but better or worse, Bailey is able to make any situation positive and use it as a learning opportunity to push himself further. It's inspiring to say the least."
-Taylor Woodruff, Program Director
"Bailey will fall through the lid of a trash can and keep filming for the sake of a clip, good or bad. He's a free spirit, funny guy, and has a great hair flip."
"Biggest homie, always brings a good time no matter the situation. Very passionate on what he believes and will always have your back. Very trustworthy guy. Very sociable and open to meeting new people. You need a hand, you can hit up Bailey and he will try his best." -Jacob Wilcox, S.A.L.T. Member and September's Skater of the Month
Skater of the Month: September
This month we are stoked to thank and tell you all about our friend, SALT Member, Park Manager, and all around great guy: Jacob Willcox
The man of a thousand talents. Jacob is not like most mere mortals. A high school student that manages to balance his class load, his glass blowing work with local non-profit The HillTop Artists, an active social life, AND countless hours helping us build, maintain, and run our indoor skate park. We know few professionals that are able to juggle such a heavy load and Jacob manages to do it the same way he skates, with style, grace, and attention to detail.
Jacob has been our Skate Park Manager over the last summer, making sure our Drop-in hours at the skate park run smoothly and has accumulated well over 200+ hours of community service while also being an active member of the S.A.L.T. (Sponsored by Alchemy Leadership Team) program. He is at the park at least 15 min early to every shift and usually stays late making sure the mundane tasks of sweeping, cleaning, and taking out the trash are done on time every time.
Jacob is an honest person who you can rely on to come through in a pinch. He is also a very fun person to skate with, constantly asking his peers to “say he won’t” land a trick as a form of motivation. Most folks Jacob’s age with that much talent would probably be comfortable and complacent knowing they are super rad, but Jacob is constantly pushing himself, and all those around him, to dream bigger, dig deeper, and work harder. His work ethic is infectious and a high standard we often reference to younger folks looking to get involved or make changes in their communities. We could go on about how great Jacob is, but we will let his fellow peers and friends do that for us:
“It’s always a pleasure skating with Jacob, not only is he incredibly good at it, but he strives to become better everyday. This attitude with his skating really reflects on his ability to work as well. He is motivated, and won’t stop until he gets the job done” -Ethan Carter SALT member ’16
“Jacob is always there to lend a hand and he feeds off of others positivity and has always beensupportive friend and a good role model.” -Joseph Faulk Local Skater
“He goes for any trick even if it’s going to be a bail, he’ll commit and always helps out and makes sure the kids skating have everything they need and he’s very good at getting a point across. He’s a good friend and there for you whenever you need him” -Elias Peters SALT member ’16
“Jacob is not only one of the most reliable people I know, but he is also one of the most gifted communicators. He has the ability to connect with every type of person and forge a genuine and honest relationship with them. It his ability to build trust and communicate effectively that make him not only a great leader, but one of the most fun people to ride a skateboard with.” -Taylor Woodruff Program Director
“He was one of the first people that instantly made me feel welcome in Alchemy’s skatepark and in the greater Tacoma skate community. He is a young man that has a deep understand of people and the world around him. Everyday he impresses me with his skating and hard work.” Rory Mitchell Grindhouse Store Manager
“Jacob is an incredible talent, he is wise beyond his years and has a work ethic to back it up. I have only met a few people who are both strategically motivated with the goals he sets and artistically gifted.” -Ben Warner Executive Director
Skater of the Month: August
This Month we are stoked to thank and tell you all about our friend, SALT Member, and all around ripper: Miles Bye
Miles is a special type of person. He is quiet, but not shy. He is fearless, but not reckless. Miles is an incredible human and an even better skater and we are so proud to have him as a member of our team!
Miles is an active member of S.A.L.T. attending weekly meetings, teaching skate camps, and learning about how to create positive changes in his community. He has also recently started collaborating with a local clothing company, Tacoma Apparel Co. to model and promote their unique street/skate brand with his band of brothers: “The Barnacle Boys”
Miles was already a very deep thinking and respectful person when we first met him, but it has been a pleasure to watch him continue to develop these assets and build new skills in communication and team work. Miles is the kind of person to jump at every opportunity with focus and energy, and as a hard worker, he will never quit until the job is done.
We could go on, but we’ll let Miles’ friends and family do the talking for us about just how rad this dude is!
“Miles makes me feel like I’m in the eye of a storm. Miles is quiet and then suddenly explosive. A deep thinker and has a great style. He is so young, but so talented and kind.” -Ben Warner
“He’s always trying to lock down new tricks. He is very fundamental in his approach to skateboarding, which is refreshing in the current skate scene where everyone just wants to do the cool new tricks, Miles learns all the basics, and builds them into new, bigger tricks.” -Jacob Willcox
"Miles is the kinda guy you want on your team in the event of the zombie apocalypse. Someone you trust to have their head on straight in times of great stress or challenge and help get you through it." -Taylor Woodruff
“When Miles was a toddler we went on a vacation to a place that had a built in pool. Miles, who was about 2 or 3 years old, would jump into the pool and sink like a rock, almost to the bottom, and wait for our dad to jump in save him. Our dad would frantically jump in after him and Miles would come up smiling like it was the funnest game. He was entirely unfazed by the feeling of not being able to breathe.” -Windsome Bye
Skater of the Month: June
This month we are stoked to thank and tell you about our friend, and killer skater: Zach Kiesz
If “Stoke” were to somehow take human form, it would take the form of Zach Kiesz. Zach is a local skater who lives and breathes it. We first met Zach a few years back at Go Skate Tacoma. He was the only dude ripping a longboard on all the ramps and that made a lasting impression. Since then Zach has never disappointed, continually pushing himself and others in the community to do what they love their own way. Weather its street, park, or downhill Zach always finds a way to have fun with a board and progresses every session. It’s rad to see such enthusiasm for such a variety skating and he does them all with confidence, focus, and determination.
Even off his board, Zach continues to push for better things in the community as an employee of local board manufactures DB Longboards. Zach has even helped with the Alchemy Skate Classes as a TA for the “Skate Transportation” class at SAMI located in point Defiance. Watching him work with youth, it is easy to see Zach's passion and understanding for skating runs deep, and we couldn't have done it without him. This year at Go Skate Tacoma Zach was awarded the “Best Ride” award for multiple reasons including: skating through a literal hail storm, riding down the stair set as a small waterfall cascaded underneath his wheels, as well as setting up all the ramps with us, and sticking around to help us load them out. You can find clips of Zach's rainstorm skating here: DB Coverage of Go Skate Tacoma.
We could go on all day explaining the man, the myth, the legend that is Zach Kiesz, but we thought his fellow skaters, friends, and co-workers could say it better:
“He’s a Rad Skater! One of the best that I know, it’s a privilege to skate with him” -Dakota Barber
“I like how uniquely strange and fun he is” -Ben Warner
“One of the best qualities about Zach is the guy never loses his cool. You will never hear him swear, or loose his temper, he is one smooth operator.” -Lonnie Ruffcorn
“Dude blows my mind every day. He uses a longboard when he should be using a skateboard and a skateboard when he should be using a longboard.” -Rory Mitchell
“He’s someone I look up to. He’s the biggest man child I’ll ever meet and he’s probably the greatest person I know. First person I go to for everything and he just doesn’t care for trends and does what he wants to.” -Carlos Ortiz
“I love having Zach around. I don’t think I’ve actually ever heard him complain about anything. Not ever. That genuine positivity and optimism is rare these days.” -Taylor Woodruff
Thank you Zach, not just for being a rad skater, but for everything you do for the skater's in your community. You embody what the "Best Ride" award is all about and truly earned it this year. We can't wait to see what crazy skate-fueled adventures the future holds for you! We're proud to know you, and call you our friend.
SKater of the month: May
This month we are excited to thank and tell you about local ripper Ethan Carter.
Ethan has been powerhouse for Alchemy, constantly going above and beyond the call of duty. At only 15 years of age, you can find him every week manning the door of our indoor skate facility on Sundays from noon-2pm, greeting skaters, helping the kiddos learn new tricks, and being an all around rad guy.
Ethan is also a member the SALT program (Sponsored by Alchemy Leadership Team) and has been instrumental in the building and development of the program. Ethan has donated over 200 hours to help build and run our non-profit with us. He is responsible for most of the screws in the ramps we use every year at our Go Skate Tacoma event. He has also taught dozens of kids how to skate at our Alchemy Skate Camps.
We really can’t express how great this guy is, and how thankful we are to have him around, so instead, we’ve collected quotes from other skaters and participants at Alchemy about the man, the myth, the legend, Ethan Carter:
“If I could describe him in only two words it would be terrifyingly brilliant” -Ben Warner
“If I could be anyone when I grow up, it would be Ethan Carter” -Taylor Woodruff
“At 15, he is the most mature, honest, and lovable person” -Bailey Walker
“Ethan is a best friend. [He] always keeps you on your toes when he skates. He always pushes his limits and is so humble about it” -Carlos Ortiz
“Ethan is not only a sick human being, but also a skater’s skater. He can skate anything!” -Johnny Irwin
Thank you Ethan, for everything you do for Alchemy, for your fellow skaters, and for your community. We're lucky to know you!