Three Skowhegan teens and lifelong friends who will enter their senior year of high school in the fall have come up with an interesting, and slightly unusual, way to celebrate that milestone.
Connor Reeves, Ethan Johnson and Jacob Weese will hop on their long boards and leave Sunday, July 17, from the center of Ellsworth to skate the highways and byways of coastal Maine, arriving Wednesday, July 20, in Old Orchard Beach.
They are taking this journey for two reasons, Connor explained.
First, it is what the young men, who have been together since first grade, are calling their “last hurrah”: one very meaningful experience they will carry forever in their shared memories.
The second reason is to raise money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure-Maine to support the work of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
“I’m not going to be here next year,” Connor said of plans for his senior year of high school, which does not include being in the Skowhegan school system. “I’m going to Fryeburg Academy, so this is sort of a last thing to do, together, before the summer is over.”
While a student at Skowhegan High School, Connor participated in speech and drama, “played some football” and was in bands, he told me.
Ethan is the varsity quarterback for the SHS football team, captain of its basketball team and president of the school’s National Honor Society.
Jake also plays football and is one of the top-ranked track and field athletes in the state, specializing in the shot put, discus and javelin.
Connor told me Jake’s mother “suggested we do it for something” when they were talking about taking a trip on their longboards, and, since Jake has an aunt who is a breast cancer survivor, that became their charity of choice.
“We’ll be Boarding for Boobies,” Connor said of the trio’s team name, adding that folks who go to Facebook and type in that title can join the group and show their support.
Connor said the trio, dressed in pink shirts, will travel along Route 1 “and then take some back roads,” and that they are considering getting the word out to all the public safety officials (Connor called them patrol cars) in each town they pass through so those very important people “will know we are coming.”
And, Connor said, he hopes if people spot them on the road, wearing pink, they’ll recognize them and support their efforts.
The parents among us, I reminded him, will hope those motorists also take all the necessary precautions to help ensure the safety of these young men boarding for a memorable experience and a most worthy cause.
They are trying to travel as light as possible.
“We’ll be carrying our backpacks, sleeping bags and one-man tents,” Connor said. “We’ll have fresh undies and fresh socks, but that’s all we’re really bringing.”
They plan to have a car following them to back them up and are making arrangements to spend nights at local campsites, if possible.
They already have an offer of a free night of camping for July 18, at Duck Puddle Campground on Pemaquid Lake off Route 1 in Nobleboro.
But, Connor said, they also have discovered that, because all of them are not yet 18, their camping options are limited, so they are diligently searching for sites where they will be welcome.
The long board, Connor said, was developed on the West Coast “by people who surfed a lot and wanted the feeling of surfing” on pavement.
The longer boards have “wider trucks, wider wheels and pretty soft rubber to grip the tar,” he said. “It simulates the feeling of surfing on the water.”
After their July 20 arrival in Old Orchard Beach, Connor, Ethan and Jacob will spend the next day at the beach “collecting donations and rewarding ourselves with a beach day,” Connor said.
Connor has registered the team for the Passionately Pink Program through the Susan G. Komen Maine Affiliate, and you can learn more about that program by going to komenmaine.org, clicking on Get Involved, Fundraising for Komen and selecting Passionately Pink.
The goal of the trio “Boarding for Boobies” is to raise a minimum of $1,000.
To help support their effort, make a check payable to Susan G. Komen for the Cure and mail it to Connor Reeves, 90 Robin Court, Skowhegan 04976.
For more information, call Connor at 249-9069 or email MrRedSlippers@aol.com.