Building Unity, one skatepark at a time
Ian Bernard Wilhelm and Ashley Bastian are a couple on a mission with their company, Unity Builders. Years ago they fell in love with Costa Rica and its people. Throughout time that love has expanded to Nicaragua and other countries in Central America. What originally started as a group of friends building ramps in the United States, has expanded beyond borders. The couple extends their hearts and resources to make additions to peoples skateparks, repainting/cleaning up already existing skateparks to building skateparks for underprivileged kids. With Ian and his crew on the building side and Ashley working hard behind the scenes to make sure everything goes smoothly.
They originally went to Central America chasing the endless summer so many skaters before them had sought out. They found it in Costa Rica and since then, it has been an annual visit. A skate tour through the countries of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. Ian has an open invitation for anyone who wants to go. He says there’s lots to skate. Lots to see, plenty of good food and plenty of room to help build or donate supplies to the cause. Over the years, Ian and Ashley have made several friends in Central America who have taken them to lots of local only spots.
Ian Expressed interest in starting an exchange program for Central America and United States. Ian would like to help find sponsors for this program. I think this sounds like a program that could change lives for the better. Ian does sponsorships for trips to Central America. Just on a small scale so far. The difficult part about this program is getting kids from Central America up here unfortunately. Ian would love help getting the process for kids from Central America up here and to make it more streamlined.
To show their support of the local communities, they donate duffel bags full of skateboard gear. Like skateboards, trucks, wheels, etc. On top of their time and effort to build places to skate. Ian and Ashley don’t just do this down south, they do it back home with local events and just in everyday interactions with people at their skate shop, Unity Skateshop in Port Orchard WA. Their hearts are for the people in my opinion. Depending on the country they’re dealing with, sometimes it takes a long time for stuff to be shipped there or could have a raised tax for the people to receive their products.
Ian wants to better the world through skate life. He knows building and him and Ashley know skating. Spreading the stoke one town at a time. They are non profit as far as building and Central America are concerned. And really as far as every bit of involvement they have in skateboarding. It’s always been about the love of skating. Ian is always available for consulting.
Ian is motivated by kids smiling and having a good time. Ian recalled a time multiple kids come out of the woods and this autistic kid was drawn to Ian and the help he got to learn to skate. Basically, it’s the stoke he receives from the locals.
Unity Started out building for friends then expanded over the years to what it is today. Quality of life/ skate life. Ian thanks everyone who’s been involved.
Every year there is a go skate day event with music and a contest. This year its on 6/25 12pm-dark (see flyer). Lots of fun free food and prizes.
All photos contributed by or shot by Ian Wilhelm & Ryan Gurwell.