Community Impact Makers

For my final project of PLP, we focused on impact. Specifically community impact makers that we have some type of connection to. We worked to refine our definitions of impact, primarily through studying what made a “crazy one”, a term from an apple ad that seemed to be a big inspiration for this project. We did this mostly through socratic seminars on films that included these “crazy ones”, those films being: “Hidden Figures”, “Ammadeus”, and “Ghandi”. After that, we identified our communities and impact makers within them. Ultimately, “Community Impact Makers” are people that can be defined as people that have made a positive impact in their communities, primarily through their actions. They have changed their community for the better by thinking differently and pushing the status quo. For my community impact maker, I choose Rob “Sluggo” Boyce, for the community of Vancouver skateboarders. We presented our impact makers at the PLP Summer exhibition, here are some pictures of the portrait I made of Sluggo.

Making this portrait was a lot of fun because I painted it with some of my friends which was just a great time. Making the clay guys was a challenge though, they broke very easily, but I am very pleased with how it eventually came out. I think this might be one of the most visually pleasing projects I’ve ever done for PLP. I am usually much better at the writing and thinking than I am creating so it was nice to have a project where I was genuinely proud of the physical product I created.


Sluggo is a professional skateboarder, snowboarder, break-dancer, gymnast, stuntman, and businessman. Born in Victoria, B.C, on September 15th, 1969. In his early years, Sluggo participated in high level gymnastics as well as being an avid breakdancer, before being introduced to skateboarding at the age of 16. Sluggo primarily skates vert ramps, half pipes like the one you see here. He went on to start professionally skating in 1991. During this time he competed in many world championships and was a part of the skateboard crew known as “The Red Dragons”, consisting of Sluggo, Colin McKay, and Moses Itkonen. In 1998 he was the first skateboarder to perform a backflip on the vert ramp, progressing the sport immensely and solidifying his status as a skateboarding legend. Today, Sluggo lives in North Vancouver with his two children and is still an active member of both the local and worldwide skateboarding community. This is just a quick summary on who he is, but what makes him an impact maker? 


Sluggo and his friends founded RDS (Red Dragon Skateboards) in 1995, one of the first Canadian skateboarding brands and certainly the first big skateboarding company to come out of Vancouver. RDS was impactful because it gave skateboarders in Vancouver a brand to call their own, a local brand that was integral to the definition of our communities identity. Furthermore, Sluggo and RDS funded and supported many local competitions, events, and individuals (through sponsorships). This brought a lot of positive impact to the community. They still support Canadian skateboarding to this day. Recently, they installed two new skateboarding obstacles in North Vancouver in order to give skateboarders in the lonsdale area a new place to skate after the local park was demolished for reconstruction.


In 1997 Sluggo and Colin McKay opened Centre Dist in Vancouver. A skateboard hardware distribution center that connected Vancouver to the skateboarding world more than ever before. Access to hardware, apparel, and media (magazines/videos, primarily) has greatly impacted the skateboard community in Vancouver; it has allowed this community to grow and flourish. I believe that the opening of Centre dist was a key milestone in the evolution of the Vancouver skateboard community. 


Sluggo at the Dim “Glory Challenge” in Montreal
Sluggo at the Dime “Glory Challenge” in                   Montreal

Sluggo is also seen as a very positive figure in the skateboarding community, his image and status as a legendary skateboarder legitimized Vancouver as a skateboarding hotspot. In recent years Sluggo makes many appearances at competitions, notably, the Dime Challenges hosted in Montreal, where he MC’s portions of the event and overall just makes a positive impact on the event and subsequently the community as a whole. Just last week he attended a competition in Langley showing love to the community out there.


For all of these reasons, I believe that it is more than fair to say Sluggo is a community impact maker.


As for what is really to be learned from this project I believe that all these ideas regarding impact and community can be tied into this one central theme. The idea that: Change is Atomic. The word atomic has two general definitions: “Something very small” and “A source of great power”. When I say change is atomic I mean that seemingly small, or even insignificant changes can have immense power, immense impact. For example, Sluggo’s childhood friend introducing him to skateboarding isn’t a very changing act on its own, but it is one of many small, seemingly insignificant moments that have led to Sluggo contributing so much to this community that we call skateboarding. This idea that change is atomic isn’t my own, it’s something that I discovered in James Clears “Atomic Habits”, which is also a book I used for my capstone reading journal project. Change being atomic is something that I can apply to myself to, if I am able to make a small positive change everyday, the process will compound working to make me a a largely better person, through these small, unceremonious changes.


In this project I was able to connect the ideas I learned about community and impact and tie them to this more transferable idea of change being atomic, the process of learning how to connect ideas like this is where my personal knowledge management system came back to help me a lot (again). 

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