by LINDA FRABL | photos by Soul of Photography | mural by

Carving it Up in Cali


Matt and Calli Kelsay and their children, Aubrey (9), Kirra (6), Juliet (3), and Chase (1), are extremely close-knit. They strive to always have dinner together, read together every night, and fulfill Sunday “family time” by either volunteering through their church, hanging out at the skate park, or going to the beach. Grateful for her family’s bond, Calli exclaimed, “My four children are my greatest achievements, and I’m grateful for what they teach me every day.”

family_kelsay2Something that Calli has learned from her children recently is how rewarding skateboarding is. It began about a year ago when daughters Aubrey and Kirra first picked up their skate decks. Matt and Calli quickly realized that skateboarding gave their children increased confidence, determination, and creativity. Inspired by the extreme sport, Calli formed a service-focused skateboarding program for the community called Skate Rising. Skate Rising is a part of Exposure Skate, an Encinitas-based group of dedicated volunteers striving to empower women through skateboarding (

On the motivation behind Skate Rising, Calli explained, “Seeing my children push through fear, fall and get back up, and encourage each other to try new things gave me the idea to try and bring these important life lessons to a much broader group. So I decided to create free, monthly skate events for girls focused on service and learning.”

Names: Matt and Calli Kelsay
Children: Aubrey (9), Kirra (6), Juliet (3), Chase (1.5)
Hometowns: Calli – Encinitas; Matt – Ramona
Occupations: Matt – President of Coast Security and Investigations, Senior Associate at Sweet Water Capital; Calli – Program Director at Exposure Skate, mommy to the best kids ever
Pets: We have eight chickens.
Favorite Spots in 92024: Sunshine Gardens, San Diego Botanic Garden, Encinitas Skate Park, YMCA Skate Park, Cardiff Reef, Jorge’s Mexicatessen

family_kelsay5In addition to skating, the Kelsay family is active in many other activities. Matt, an avid soccer player, plays once a week with his friends. Aubrey and Kirra both play piano, surf, and jump rope. Juliet is into animals and playing at parks, and Chase is a mini Houdini who can break into any baby-proof cabinet.

family_kelsay6At home, the children each contribute to caring for the family’s vast garden, eight chickens, and worm farm. Calli proclaimed, “Our yard is about 40 percent edible, with fruit trees, vegetables, watermelons, herbs, and peanuts growing out back.” The Kelsay youngsters make a difference around the community as well – just last year, Aubrey received the Girl Scout Medal of Honor for her part in helping a teacher who was choking at school.

The Kelsays especially love that their Encinitas neighborhood is filled with adventurous youngsters. With fifteen kids under the age of 12 within the five surrounding homes, Calli admitted, “It gets to be really fun when they’re all playing cops and robbers in our cul-de-sac.” Matt agreed, and is appreciative of the “awesome neighbors, great schools, and young families around us!”