A rider, skateboarder, fisherman, painter, and musician-everybody loves Scott Stamnes.
“He put the truly important things first,” says Burton rider Victoria Jealouse, an eleven-year friend to Scott. “I don’t know anyone who comes close to being as consistently nice, uncritical, and understanding.” The Scott Stamnes Give To Kids Fun(d) was established as a way to focus on Stamnes’ remarkable life instead of his tragic, untimely death after he was killed by a drunk driver while crossing a street in Marseilles, France in December of 2000.
“His mother and I talked about starting to help kids mainly because that’s what Scott did,” says Stamnes’ dad Mike. “He had an amazing way of meeting people, and was more interested in what you were doing than talking about himself. We decided to benefit kids through the sports he loved, as well as art, music, and film.”
Stamnes’ mother Pamela Kyle adds, “He was forever giving away the shirt off his back, and that is the essence of him and his foundation. We’re in the baby stages, but our goal is to achieve a level of donations that will sustain the fund and allow us to broaden sponsorship to support youths who not only skate and ride, but also strive for academic excellence as part of their growth.”
To that end, a number of pros like Jealouse and his fellow-Mervin-rider Barrett Christy have donated product. Mt. Baker Ski Area and Windell’s Camps are working toward creating trips and resort visits for the kids. “You couldn’t be around Scott and be bummed. You couldn’t be anything but thankful,” offers Christy. “He represented to me what Mervin’s all about-love, happiness, and friendship. He’d always remind you to have fun, and that attitude is everything.”
Manufacturers like Sessions, Sole Technology, Burton, and Rossignol support and help create awareness of the fund, and this summer’s Tex Games are a GTKF benefit. Northwestern businesses like the Mt. Baker Snowboard Shop and 35th Avenue Skateboard Shop are also donating.
Companies like Volcom and Mervin with whom Stamnes had personal relationships have gone above and beyond. Volcom created a Stamnes tribute at their office and made a shirt from his original artwork. And according to Mervin’s Team Promotions Coordinator Jeannine James, Stamnes was practically family.
“Barrett does whatever she can, Jamie Lynn has made artwork for a silent auction, Dave Lee donates his time and his band Eris plays for free at their benefits,” says James. This year Mervin released Scott Stamnes pro-model skate and snowboard decks, with portions of their sales donated to the GTKF. Both boards sell so briskly they’re on back order.
Mike Stamnes says, “We’d rather give a little money so we can help as many people as we can.” Their first outing was a fundraiser in April of 2001 involving an art showing, concert, and quarterpipe skate jam. Joelle Brewer and close friend Joe Baker compiled a film called Jumpers about Scott’s life, which can be purchased on the Web site. And in Stamnes’ name, the foundation also pays for injured riders’ medical bills, skate-camp visits for kids, and makes donations to the Orcas Island skatepark. Mike Stamnes even talks about opening a shop in west Seattle named after his son’s ever-present malamute dog, Billy Rainbow.
Patterned after the Legendary Mt. Baker Banked Slalom, a memorial skate contest on Orcas Island is in the works for this summer. There will be divisions for all ages, camping, a salmon barbecue, and art objects for prizes (details are also available on the Web site). It was Scott Stamnes himself who started a tradition by bringing salmon he’d caught to the Banked Slalom’s bonfire cookout in memory of Teal Copeland, another Baker rider who died.
Baked Salmon at the Banked Slalom lives on, but such gatherings are rendered bittersweet by Stamnes’ passing. Mike Stamnes says he is “filled with love” at seeing his son’s many friends continue on in what Scott did. “Even more than giving, creaating opportunities with product and money,” concludes Jealouse, “It’s great if kids can know Scott through the Fund. With him as a mentor, they can see that you can be cool and still be kind, love your friends, and be true to yourself.”
For more information, visit: www.scottstamnes.org and e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Donations can be made at the Boeing Employees Credit Union: P.O. Box 97050 Seattle, WA 98124-9750, or at any Washington Mutual Bank: (800) 754-8000.