EAST PROVIDENCE — Legendary BMX professional and multi-X Games medalist Kevin Robinson considers it a phenomenal gift from his sponsor, Target Inc.
Back in November, Robinson had flown to Minneapolis to take care of some business at Target headquarters, and that’s when officials approached him, requesting he find a group of 15 children, those who revel in the sports of BMX and skateboarding.
They also told him the company would foot the bill for those kids to spend a week honing their skills at the famed Woodward Camp, which is considered an action sports mecca and located about 30 miles outside of State College, Pa.
The event’s name: The K-ROB/Target Woodward Camper Contest, which is slated for June 10-16.
“I was floored; I was blown out of the park,” Robinson, who grew up in Riverside, gushed Thursday afternoon. “I was so grateful to them for doing this. They know how serious I am about helping the youths of my home city (East Providence) and state with our KROB Foundation.
“The week will include instruction on the fundamentals of BMX and skateboarding, not to mention tricks and other maneuvers,” he added. “Anyone who rides BMX or a skateboard knows about Woodward; it’s the Disney World of action sports. They told me to find kids who love BMX and skateboarding, but whose families perhaps can’t afford a way to send them.”
Woodward Camp is the same site in which Robinson spent approximately 11 years (2000-2010) training for several X Games and other national and international championships. In fact, he still does, as he just returned home from a couple of days of intense workouts.
Robinson now is asking any boy or girl ages 10-17 around the Ocean State and southeastern Massachusetts to write an essay no longer than 300 words describing why they deserve to attend the camp. At that point, Robinson – the KROB Foundation President – and his Board of Directors will read those essays and select the lucky 15 to go.
Each applicant also must send in a photo of them either BMX-ing or skateboarding, and it doesn’t matter where. The entries are due by May 1, and should be sent either to Kevin Robinson, P.O. Box 415, Barrington, R.I. 02806, or to www.krobfoundation.org .
The winners will be announced at the second annual Ride with K-ROB/Family Fund Festival on May 20. (That event will end at Rosa Larisa Park, across the street from the Crescent Park Carousel, in Riverside). Transportation to Woodward will be supplied by Target. No entry fee is involved, “except the cost of a stamp,” Robinson chuckled.
He and his foundation’s Board of Directors directors will judge every entry, with the only prerequisites being all essayists must be ages 10-17, and meet the family income guidelines. Those can be found on the official contest page on the aforementioned Web site.
“I actually got the idea from (former New England Patriots linebacker) Junior Seau, who’s a friend of mine and has his own foundation. They do an event called ‘Shop With A Jock,’ and Junior asks kids to send in letters as to why they should be chosen to shop (for family members at Christmastime) with any one of dozens of pro athletes.
“I called Jason Gurka, who runs Junior’s foundation, and told him, ‘I want to steal your idea for my foundation,’” he added with a grin. “Jason just said, ‘Go for it!’
“I help run the Target program at the camp, and it’s basically a reward to kids for using positive behavior, such as being kind to others, being a good sport, etc. I don’t usually do this. When I’m at Woodward, I’m either training or working on the Target program, which is to encourage children and teens to behave positively, have a great outlook on life and to lead a healthy lifestyle.”
During that week, Robinson and fellow pro Mykel Larrin will be not only the chosen group’s instructors, but also their “Cabin Dads.” All 15 will be housed in a massive cabin on the campus, and they will experience morning and afternoon sessions each day, but also will have plenty of free time in the swimming ball, playing paintball or maneuvering on a ropes course, even go-karts.
“I’m so excited to give the kids from this area the chance to experience the most amazing facility for action sports in the world,” he noted. “This is the first time I’ve ever officially taught there, so I can’t wait. I’ve always been a resident pro who just trains there.
“When it comes to the essays, I’m looking for letters from the heart, why they think they deserve to go to Woodward with me,” he continued. “I want those kids who have a dream of pursuing BMX or skateboarding, not so much for a career but want to take it to a level they wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise.
“I want to give them the opportunity I didn’t have when I was younger. I had to struggle to find a place to do my BMXing, and that’s why I lived at Woodward for so long. I mean, even my kids were born there. I’ve always had a motto, ‘Dream your life and live your dream,’ and I always had a dream of what I wanted. I knew the only way I’d succeed would be if I stayed there and trained harder than I ever had.
“I’m so psyched. This is an amazing opportunity for kids here in my home state and surrounding communities to take their skills to a higher level. I can’t wait to teach them how to do back flips, 360s, ‘Supermans,’ ‘No handers,’ that kind of stuff. Really, the list is endless.”