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Not Your Average Family Trip

Today’s blog is from an extraordinary woman, Carla Hanes. This year, she and her husband and their three young boys are embarking on a life changing trip to Bali, Indonesia. It would be easy for this Alabama family to find a much easier trip to go on, especially with their youngest son being 4 years old, but Carla knows that this is an invaluable experience. Here, she shares with us why it’s important for her family to do this, and what she’s experienced through the process thus far.

The Hanes household is officially on count down: Taylor, Carla, Jack, Luke and Tay have 28 days to raise $10,000 so that we can join the 15th annual Surfing the Nations trip to Bali! The Bali adventure is a dream that’s been a long time coming. My husband, Taylor and I, have talked, planned and dreamed of taking our boys on an outreach trip for years. Jack and Luke are 9 year old twins and Tay is 4.

We firmly believe that the sooner children can see the world on a global scale, the better. Shaping our kids’ worldview is one of the most important jobs we are tasked with as parents. I grew up traveling internationally, joining my parents and three younger sisters in far-flung nations from China to Russia to Tahiti. As my sisters and I often say, once adventure travel is in your blood, there’s no escaping it. The experience of traveling and being exposed to foreign cultures and diverse people groups is an education unlike any other.
It’s true that taking children under a certain age into foreign countries can seem a bit daunting. When the voices of those challenges seem a little louder than the excitement and reward of the adventure, I’m reminded that anything of significant and lasting value requires a leap, a risk, an embracing of the unknown. The other night as we were tucking our boys into bed, Luke said, “Mom, I’m excited because I know that we are going to get to help people and change their lives, but most of all, our lives are going to be changed.”
There are also the life lessons that have come from having to write support letters and hold car washes to raise the needed money. Learning the value of earning money to spend it not on oneself but on others takes the idea of selflessness to a new level – especially in the mind of a 9 year old. It has been especially rewarding to watch Jack and Luke’s friends come alongside and support them with their time, energy and allowance. These are the life experiences that shape a boys’ character – these are the lessons that remind us all to take the focus off ourselves and put it on others – when we do that, we are all nourished and we all grow.
We look forward to sharing stories of our adventures in Bali – not just this summer but for many to come! -CH

If you would like to help the Hanes family reach their goal and be a part of sending them to Bali, please email robert@surfingthenations.com and put in the subject line ‘Hanes Family.’

Jack, Luke and Tay are ready for an adventure!

Carla and Taylor

New Series: On Our Bookmarks Bar!

An organization is first of all, people.

At Surfing The Nations, people from several nations, backgrounds and influences come, bringing with them a countless number of interests.

One thing that we all have in common is that we all strive to live inspiring lives, and thus have our specific sources of inspiration.

In this new blog series, On My Bookmarks Bar we introduce an STN staff member and their favorite websites that they’ve bookmarked and continually frequent to keep their creative juice flowing.

We hope you find a few new favorites of your own, and get inspired!

On My Bookmarks Bar

Kirstin Anderson, Graphic Designer

From Naples, Florida, USA


1.) For all things design, I love to get inspiration from this site:


 2.) Radiolab is my source of food for thought. The podcasts are full of creative and interesting stories based on science. I like to mix it up and listen to this instead of having music on while I work.

3.)  I use these two websites to keep up on upcoming concerts. BAMP keeps me in the know with what shows are coming to Hawaii, and with songkick, you can search for shows in cities across the globe.


4.) I love getting new music from the Roxy Blog. Roxy is a brand that reflects the surf lifestyle and I can always find something I like from their picks.

5.)Refinery29 is one of my favorites to keep up on the trends in fashion.

feature photo: cultofmac.com

From Ohai Street to University

Today’s blog post is by STN Staff member Chris Jordan. He has been at STN for 1 ½ years and has participated in nearly all of the programs STN offers.  He started out on Service Team, completed the Internship program and  Surfers Leadership School, and is now on full time staff in the Business Department. Chris is bringing you a story about a friend of his, a Wahiawa local that he first met during his time on Service Team.

Let me set the stage for you: Crowds numbering over 1,000. Flowers falling from helicopters like snow in the sky. Oversized photos of teenagers hoisted into the air. Leis made of flowers and money held in outstretched arms. What is this? A Hawaiian high school graduation, of course!

I was incredibly blessed to be able to attend a friend’s high school graduation this Spring. His name is David Dawson. David is one of the most caring and generous men that I know. He gives more than he takes and is always willing to extend an open hand. I met David over a year ago while I was a part of STN’s Service Team. We met in a hole. No, not a metaphoric hole, but a real dirt and mud one. I was digging an eight foot pit in order to get to a blocked sewage pipe and that is when David arrived on the scene. He had come STN to volunteer with us and thankfully, was there just in time. We talked quite a bit that day, as you tend to do in a confined space, and really got to know one another.

Over the next few months I got to know David quite well and was really impressed with his character and work ethic. We were doing hard work at the time, but David never complained or shirked his duty; he persevered and continued to serve STN and his community, Wahiawa.

David has lived on Ohai Street since he was eight years old. Living in a place notorious for violence and drug activity, a child’s future on this street often has far too many dark options. But David knew who he wanted to be. To stay focused in the face the temptation of  drugs, fighting, and vandalism was a challenge, but he fought against the drift and used his football and volunteer work to stay on course. Going to college has always been a goal for him, and a dream for his family as well.

Through hard work and dedication, David graduated high school.  His name was called and he went up on stage to receive his diploma, smiling the entire time.  Not only did David graduate, but he also received a full tuition scholarship to the University of Hawaii, Hilo! I am incredibly proud of David. He put his mind to it and succeeded as a result. Dedication and determination are truly the ingredients in the recipe for success.

Thank you David, for being a true friend and for all your work in the community! ” -CJ


Cindy Bauer, co-founder of STN, with David.


Celebrating a job well done!
(L-R Jared Phillips, David Dawson, Cindy Bauer, Chris Jordan.)


Header photo credit: western.edu