AJ Waters is the owner and founder of Stronger Skatepark, an actively inclusive action sports facility and community based in Milwaukie, Oregon, and is an openly queer and trans individual. Before founding Stronger, AJ was a part of a small church plant team in Illinois where they led all of the children’s programming while simultaneously completing their BA in Pastoral Ministry. After moving to Portland in 2012, they got connected with local non-profit Skate Like a Girl and became a volunteer coach and later an employee running after school skateboarding centric programming at the Blazer’s Boy’s and Girl’s Club. AJ, a lifelong skateboarder, is passionate about the positive impact of action sports on people’s lives. AJ recognizes how action sports can be hard to access, especially for non-traditional skaters. This is the ethos behind Stronger Skatepark. It is a facility, but more importantly a community, expanding access by intentionally creating space for children, women, queer people, older adults, and others who may not feel safe in a traditional skatepark environment. AJ serves on the Board of Directors for Village Free School, where their son attends. AJ’s family is part of Village Free School because it is an organization strongly committed to empowering children in their own education and is dedicated to justice and equity in the community. When not at work, AJ is with their family, including their wife, son, 4 rescued dogs and a rotating cast of small reptiles. AJ also enjoys writing and being active on social media especially sharing their story and educating people on issues related to neurodiversity, disability, and queerness.
Owner, Stronger Skatepark (Self)