Skateboarding means freedom to some El Dorado Hills youth

By: Matt Long
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Everybody enjoys their freedom in different ways. For several youth in El Dorado Hills, they experience their freedom at the Community Services District skate park, where they’re free to attempt any skill or stunt without anyone telling them they can’t or shouldn’t. Thursday afternoon Ryan McCaffree, 13, and Tim Smolarski, 15, were enjoying the park following a long day of school. The sweat dripping off their faces under the hot sun didn’t bother them in the least, as this was nothing but fun to them. “I only live a half-mile away so I’m here every day for at least three hours,” McCaffree said in between runs on the ramps. The 13-year-old eighth grader at Rolling Hills Middle School who’s been skating for two years said he loves getting air off of the ramps. He said the tre flips are his favorite skill or trick. Smolarski, a sophomore at Oak Ridge High, is another frequent visitor to the skate park. “I’m here about four or five days a week,” Smolarski said. “I just like trying to learn new stuff by watching others. “What I like about skateboarding is the freedom. I can do whatever I want.” Smolarski, who also plays soccer and volleyball at Oak Ridge, said he enjoys grinding on the box and doing flip tricks at the skate park. Scotty McCaughern, 18, works for the Parks and Recreation District, in what he said is the best job in the world. “I skate five hours a day and I get paid for it,” McCaughern said. “My job is to check in the kids, have them sign a waiver and make sure they’re wearing their pads. Other than that, I’m just skating with the kids.” McCaughern said between 15 to 20 kids a day come to use the skate park, with Friday afternoon after school lets out being the busiest time. The 2008 Oak Ridge High graduate currently attending Folsom Lake College works at the CSD four days a week. Like Smolarski, he enjoys the variety of things he can do on a skateboard. “I can do whatever I want and that’s what I like about skateboarding,” he said. “I’ve been skating eight years and I do every stunt I can do.” The skate park is open daily from 3 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is free to everyone. Skaters must wear a helmet and knee and elbow pads, and anyone under the age of 18 must have a parent sign a waiver. For more information, call 643-4368.