Andy Weiss started skateboarding when he was 12 years old, getting his first board from his grandma. That skateboard is what got him “through living in a really small town, especially through those teenage years.” When he graduated high school Weiss moved to Ft. Collins, where he and a friend opened up a skate shop that they operated for 15 years. “I never really thought of myself as a retailer,” Weiss recalls through an interview, but rather saw himself as a member of a community that his shop supported.
That subtle distinction is what encouraged Weiss to start a nonprofit skateboarding organization called Launch.
Nowadays skateboarding is used as a tool for people to push the agenda on several things – commerce, art work, photography, and countless other pursuits – but the aim of Launch is to make skateboarding the agenda itself. Weiss seeks to give kids the same exposure and experience that he had as a child, incubating the creative outlet that skateboarding provides.
Since the organization’s founding in 2011, the team there has opened up a creative center in Ft. Collins where anyone who is interested can get immersed in the community that has meant so much to Weiss. They offer beginning skateboarding lessons, a DIY skateboard workshop, and an open community where visitors can immerse themselves in the history and culture of skateboarding.
Dedication, persistence and personal commitment are just a handful of the lessons that Weiss hopes to impart on a new generation of skateboarders – but above all Launch seeks to nurture the individuality and self-expression that is core to being a ‘skateboarder.’ That is truly a goal we can all get behind.