INTERNATIONAL SKATEBOARDING FEDERATION
Born and raised in a small town in central Pennsylvania, Gary and his family lived just a few miles from another small town called Woodward. After graduating from Penn State University and a short stint working for the Marriott Corporation, Gary came back to central Pennsylvania where in 1978 he hooked up with his future business partner, Ed Isabelle. Ed was running a Gymnastic Camp at a small farm property in Woodward, PA and needed help. While Ed had great competence in coaching and knowing the Gymnastics family, he needed someone to run the business and really operate the camp; so began Gary’s career in the camp business.
Gary felt the need to cultivate other sports options. Enter BMX at Camp Woodward!
Over the next ten years or so, BMX, and then Skateboarding were added and these activities grew and thrived at Woodward. Gary continued to develop new facilities, training concepts and more and more riding attractions to the camp setting – thus providing a place for the passionate beginner, to the very best pro’s, and the innovative culture associated with these lifestyle sports to push the limits.
With the creation of the X Games in 1995, everything changed and Woodward became more and more influential to both the athletes as well as the way they progressed and approached the new and exciting skills that make these sports so attractive to youth and exciting to spectators and audiences.
Woodward expanded by adding Lake Owen Camp in 1985 and opened Woodward West, located north of Los Angeles, in 2003. Woodward entered the winter sports of Snowboard and Free Skiing with its new addition at Copper Mountain in 2009. One of Woodward’s most unique ventures was its highly anticipated Woodward Beijing Camp whose Grand Opening took place in May of 2010, attended by almost 100 of the very top and best known Action Sports athletes/industry leaders/media from around the world. In July of 2011 the Woodward brand and camp business officially joined the Powdr Corp. family, a leading mountain resort owner and operator in North America based in Park City, Utah. In June of 2012 Woodward Tahoe opened, a 33,000 square foot facility at the base of Boreal Resort, the largest facility of its kind in the United States.
In 2007, Woodward added a reality based television show inspired by kids and their camp experience. Originally aired on Fuel TV, a cable channel within the Fox Networks, “Camp Woodward” ran for five consecutive seasons. Camp Woodward continued the sixth season under a new production partnership with Emmy Award-winning Brain Farm Digital Cinema. Also in 2007, following the lead of the Camp Woodward Show, Woodward open it’s new Digital Media Camp, uniting the passion of creative arts with the passion of lifestyle sports, creating the new engine driving the Woodward Brand.
During all this expansion, Gary was also intimately involved with the creation and establishment of the International Skateboarding Federation (ISF) and the International BMX Freestyle Federation (IBMXFF). He serves as President of the ISF and Vice President of the IBMXFF, respectively. Both of these organizations were created to allow for the global expansion while protecting the culture as well as to create some legitimacy in the way these sports are perceived by the world sporting community.
The ISF boasts more than 27 national federations around the world and has successfully conducted numerous Skateboarding World Championships. Both organizations function under the standard protocols of an International Sports Federation.
This culture and popularity continues to grow and develop around the world. As lifestyle activities, these sports embrace all the attractive associations that empower our youth and their enthusiasm, creativity and passion for learning and pushing for new challenges.
With many new and exciting programs, events, global locations and additions on the horizon, Woodward, under Gary’s vision and creative watch, will continue to be a force and an all important factor in the future of lifestyle sports and the youth that love the culture.
Gary’s impact would be difficult, if not impossible to evaluate. But from Gary’s perspective, what a better way to go through life than doing what you love and loving the people you do it with.