SKOWHEGAN, Maine — Ethan Johnson, Jake Weese and Connor Reeves, all of Skowhegan, who say they have been friends forever, are set to hit the road again in the name of charity on their longboards, which are wider skateboards with softer wheels.
Last year the teenage trio surfed the highway on their Boarding for Boobies odyssey from Ellsworth to Old Orchard Beach to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. Their trek was in honor of Weese’s aunt, a breast cancer survivor.
This year, the young men will take up where they left off, departing from Old Orchard Beach on Tuesday, June 26, to travel to Times Square, New York City.
“It’s a trip for a cause,” Weese said. “But it’s also a nice little summer vacation for us.”
“Last year we raised $4,000 [for the Susan G. Komen Foundation],” Reeves said. “This year it’s double the trip miles so we hope to double what we raised last year.”
They will follow Route 1 and a few back roads to New London, Conn., where they will take a ferry to Long Island. That will put them within two 50-mile longboard days of the Big Apple. All three young men are veteran longboarders. Last year they camped out along the way, but this year hotels are donating rooms.
“The weight of our backpacks was tough, last year,” Weese said. “The biggest thing for me was a lack of water. I’m six-foot-one and weigh 210 [pounds]. Dehydration was an issue.” But that will be less of an issue on this trip because without the weight of camping gear, more water can be packed. They also won’t have to wonder what’s for dinner because restaurants will be nearby.
“And we’ll have showers,” Weese said.
They intend to make the trip without a support team.
“It slows us down,” Reeves said.
Connor Reeves, a senior at Fryeburg Academy in Fryeburg, is the son of John and Stephanie Reeves. He will attend Sibelius Academy in Finland in the fall to study music.
Ethan Johnson, a senior at Skowhegan High School, is the son of Jeff and Patty Johnson. He will attend Colby College in Waterville where he will concentrate on environmental studies.
Jake Weese, also a senior at Skowhegan High School, is the son of Von and Elaine Weese. He will attend Husson College in Bangor where he will study criminal justice. All three will graduate from high school in June.
“I never expected to be out in the middle of nowhere and find such interesting people who were so supportive of what we were doing,” Johnson said. “We want to do this every year until we are too old to do it. I hope the trip won’t be the only time we will be together after we all go to college.”
“While we were on the road last year,” Reeves said, “People would pull over and want to know how to donate to the cause. We raised $500 that way.”
“We met people on the trip you would never suspect had survived breast cancer. They are just quiet about it. These are the people I like to talk to on the trip,” Weese said.
Donation containers to support the Susan G. Komen Foundation are now in stores in Skowhegan, and all three young men have glow-in-the-dark bracelets available for a $5 donation. “Kids at school buy the bracelets and wear them. They think it’s a cool idea,” Weese said.
Go to http://www.facebook.com/groups/195250150523374 to follow the Boarding for Boobies trip. “Because it’s not just about raising money, it’s about raising awareness,” Weese said. “I didn’t realize how many breast cancer survivors there are.”
To donate to the Susan G. Koman Foundation, go to http://ww5.komen.org. To learn how to obtain a pink bracelet, email email@example.com.