WeSC Skate Camps organiser Danni Gallacher explains why it's important to help nurture the next generation of UK shredders.

WeSC Skate Camps organiser Danni Gallacher explains why it's important to help nurture the next generation of UK shredders.

Danni Gallacher is a rad skateboarder, illustrator and champion of awesomeness based out of Sheffield. Not only does she help organise, take part in and support girl jams around the UK, including Girlzilla at NASS, but Danni also finds time to progress her own tight skate style and work on edits, recently filming a Barcelona video, also featuring Wings Chan and Ayumi Powell, which was released earlier this year by Spanish girls’ mag Asiplanchaba.

One of Danni’s main passions at the moment are the WeSC Skate Camps she helps put on with Fabric Skateboards’ Mark Baines. These five-day long camps that link up eager kids with seasoned pros help nurture the next generation of UK skaters and bring the small but committed community together in pure celebration of skate life.

What exactly are the WeSC Skate Camps?
The WeSC Camps are a five-day residential skate camp currently based in two UK locations; Truro in Cornwall and Hull in East Yorkshire. They are open to guys and girls of all experience levels, usually aged between eleven and twenty-one years. We have professional skateboarders coaching the kids and stay in either a huge Hogwarts-style mansion or an apparently haunted Dominican friary! Absolutely everything is included in the price and each camper gets to take home a deck, shoes, hoody, tees and headphones. Plus theres loads more to win throughout the week!

Why did you get involved?
The UK camps started in 2011. I had been holding regular camps at my local skatepark for the past few years and was also helping out at others around the country. I wanted to have more involvement in camps as I love working with kids, so I was suggested to get involved in the WeSC camps by one of their coaches. I got in touch with Mark and offered to help as I knew that there was already a female camper signed up and maybe I could come in handy.

What’s the girls’ skate scene like right now?
It’s getting bigger! Lots of new faces are popping up all the time and the younger ones like Claire Thompson are killing it right now. There’s been more coverage for girls lately which is really rad and hopefully encouraging more and more. There was a huge competition earlier this summer at Mile End, which was definitely one of the best competitions there’s been in a long time, there are so many girl skaters living in the UK that you just don’t know about. Lucy Adams has also been filming with a little star down South who came out of nowhere, apparently she’s giving even Lucy a run for her money so I’m definitely looking forward to seeing some footage in the new UK girl video that Jenna Selby is currently working on.

Who else is involved in WESC Skate Camps and what does everyone do?
The camps are run by Mark Baines and he has a trusty crew of pros & ams at his side to help coach the kids. Regular coaches include Tom Knox, Dan Beall, Leo & Jody Smith, Joshua Young & Manny Lopez, among others. Their jobs are basically getting the kids hyped, giving tips and skate advice, hanging out with the kids in the evenings and making everybody feel welcome. Our camp filmers are Matt Hirst & Matt Hunt, who also work at the Vans store in Truro and sort us out with discount cards for each camper. Leo Sharp and Ben Powell from Sidewalk usually pop down for a visit to get some photos for an article too. Loads of people help make our camp rad and we are very grateful to everybody involved, particularly the brands who make it all possible. Obviously our main sponsor WeSC are very, very supportive but we also have to thank MOB Grip, Lakai, Fabric Skateboards, Sidewalk Magazine & iON Cameras for their continued support, there’s also loads more people I’ve probably forgotten.

What have been the challenges in bringing the camps to life?
The main challenge is finding a suitable town/city that has a good skatepark/plaza as well as good accommodation with easy transportation between the two. We could travel around and hit up a bunch of parks in the week which would be rad, but we think skating a park for five days means you get to know the place and can make the most of it. You’ve always got tomorrow to try something you didn’t land that day. Obviously everything has to work to budgets and recently we have had price increases thrown at us but we have worked around these as best we can which means we have kept the camps price constant since we started. There are always obstacles that are going to pop up but there’ll be a solution in there somewhere.

Who or what inspires you and keeps you motivated to keep doing the camps?
Seeing how stoked the kids are at the end of the week. The emails we receive after the camps finish, parents saying how much they appreciate what we have done for their children. All these things are inspiring, they make you realise it is a positive thing we are doing and it doesn’t go unappreciated. Skateboarding can really make a big difference to the kids’ lives and although it’s only a five-day camp, we hope we can give kids something special that will live in their memories for years to come.

How do you hope/believe the camps have an impact?
The camps definitely impact the children positively, it’s so nice hearing all the feedback from the campers throughout the week, and in all the emails once camps are finished. Many of them tell us it was the best week of their lives, and at that age… it probably is! I think that, at our camps in particular, the chance for the kids to skate and befriend all the pros we have helping is what makes it for them, the fact it is a residential camp and everyone lives together under one roof for the week is another reason, it really is a once in a lifetime experience (unless they come again, which most do!).

How can people get involved/show support?
Spread the word, quite simply. The more people who know about the camps the better, it means we can carry on growing and doing what we love. We’re really grateful for all the coverage we get that goes a step further to show that people are into what we do. We have already had so much support from everybody mentioned above and can’t thank them enough. It’s amazing that people see what we’re doing, show us support and encourage us to carry on.

What’s the future for the camps?
To just keep on growing and having fun. Every year we have new pros wanting to help out, new kids signing up and new sponsors looking to get involved. We just want to keep working hard to ensure everyone stays happy. We have been toying with ideas to experiment with other locations and possibly adding one or two weeks in the coming years but the last thing we would want to do is to take on too much work and possibly jeopardise our ability to maintain a smooth operation. Our absolute main priority is the kids welfare and spirit, so we will keep on doing our best to make sure they have the best week they possibly can.

The next WeSC skate camp pops off in Hull April 12-16, 2014.