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I grew up in a small village in the French countryside, between a nuclear power plant and a prison. Close to nothing, far from everything.

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I was bored all the time. Luckily, my father would play chess with me on the weekends, and during the week, when I wasn't at school, I spent all my time reading books. 

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At the age of 9, I started skateboarding with my friends.

But we didn't have any infrastructure or place where we could practice properly and safely.
So we used to practice in abandoned factories in our village, but as you can imagine, it was not a good place to train.

So when I was 13, my friends and I decided to build and finance our own skate park in our village. With the help of our friends' mothers, we created a "loi 1901" association called "Parole de Jeunes" with older teenagers from our village who wanted to help us on our way.


Every Saturday for several months, we all got together to work on this project. I can remember me and my friends drawing a lot of sketches of what our dream skate park would look like. It was a beautiful and pure moment of joy in my childhood.

After finding all the information we could in the French Yellow Pages, we called all the companies that build skateparks in our region. After explaining what we had in mind and sending them our sketches, they each gave us an estimate of how much it would cost.
The prices brought us back down to earth.

However, we knew that the village where we grew up had very little money, so we were happy with a low-cost version. As long as we had some asphalt and some ramps, we were the happiest kids in the world.


So we chose a company to work with, and eventually requested an audience with the village mayor. We sat down with him and his elected officials for an afternoon and explained the need for a place where young people could gather and practice skateboarding in complete safety. Knowing that the village had little in the way of infrastructure and that they'd been wanting to do something for young people for a long time, and seeing our motivation and the seriousness of the project, our request was accepted. It was a great victory.


This is the day we received the first modules of the skate park.
We were there every step of the way.
I remember when they finished pouring the tar and it was dry, I rolled on it with one of my friends and felt a moment of pure joy
when we said to each other: This place is ours!


There you can see the fresh asphalt under our feet.
And on the left you can see the wall we built to symbolize our work and to be close to the construction site.


And this is it. What we'd created out of nothing at the age of 13.
This experience taught me a lot about life, 
about resilience
and trying to do the things you dream about, even when the odds are against you.


This is me and my friends on top of the wall we built and graffitied

when the skatepark was finally finished.


To officialize the construction of the skate park, we organized a competition with all the skaters from the surrounding villages and bigger towns.
What a day!

Here are some videos of my round:

On top of that, I came in second in the competition and won my first prize in a skateboard competition:


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