The Indo team is back and still getting over jet-lag, but they had an amazing trip this year! Approximately 40 team members from Sweden, Canada and the United States spent three weeks traveling through the islands of Bali, Lombok, Nusa Lembogan, Gili, and Sumbawa. We’ll be bringing you more stories and updates soon! Here’s some of their instagram highlights. Enjoy!
The first session of our Summer Challenge program has come to an end! We had 26 students come to the first four week session from all over the world: Sweden, Canada, The Galapagos Islands, and Mexico were just a few nations represented in this first group. It was an amazing month filled with adventures all over the island, as well as serving alongside STN in their weekly outreaches. The next session starts July 31st. Here are some of our favorite instagram highlights for you to get a glance at this awesome program! Follow us @surfingthenations and check out the hashtag #stnsummer for more!
Surfing The Nations has been doing short-term, month long trips to Bangladesh for the past decade. Throughout those years, friendships have been developed, positive community transformation has happened and surfing has taken off in Cox’s Bazar!
Just as any student has a graduation, Surfing The Nations is excited to announce that short term trips to Bangladesh are being graduated into a new season of long term work! While the short term trips will continue, the groundwork for STN Bangladesh will begin.
Our dedicated staff members, Whitney Willett and Ashley Hilton are leaving tomorrow to spend four months in Bangladesh, where they will be completely immersed in the culture they have grown to love.
Their goals are to:
- Learn Bangla through language school
- Gain a greater understanding of Bangladesh: the religion, the women, social issues and needs.
- Get connected to the growth in Bangladesh through different organizations and individuals that are committed to seeing Bangladesh flourish.
They will be living at the language school for the first month and then they will look for a host family to live with. They will also be taking cultural courses on religion, dance, and other related things. Here are a few of their thoughts as they get ready to leave:
Three Things Ashley is excited about:
- Living completely immersed in a foreign country for four months!
- Reconnecting with friends that she met during her stay in April.
- Forming new relationships.
Three Things Whitney is excited about:
- Experiencing Bangladesh for more than one month! (Whitney has been several times for only one month at a time).
- Building relationships with the women.
- Being a sponge and soaking up all that will come her way in the next four months!
Whitney says, ‘It’s going to be exciting! We are going to face a plethora of emotions and have experiences that will shape us for the rest of our lives. I spent seven months in India in 2009-2010, and that has forever shaped who I am and I know that this experience will forever shape the two of us also.’
Their language school starts on August 1st, so they’re off tomorrow to start their journey! We’ll be filling you in on their progress throughout their time, so watch this space!
Today’s blog is an update on the Surfers Coffee Bar Kickstarter campaign! They’re doing great things in the Wahiawa community and campaigning to raise funds for a new espresso machine. Can you help them make it happen?
- a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals
- a similarity or identity
- joint ownership or liability
The Surfers Coffee Bar in Wahiawa has seen every one of these definitions of community take form through the generous support of others. Our local and global community has shared in our goal, in our identity as a coffee shop that exists to give back, and taken ownership by investing in our future. We have seen over $11,000 raised out of our $15,000 goal! Now, we only have 6 days left of the Kickstarter campaign. We are still in need of the last few thousand dollars to make the necessary purchases to keep our work in the community going. Please take some time to check out the campaign, give what you can, and tell your friends about it! Thank you for your help!
Your Surfers Coffee Bar Ohana
*As defined by the Oxford dictionary
One of the most intriguing things to do in a foreign country is to go shopping; browsing through the local shops, seeing what the people stock their homes with, trying new foods and drinks along the way, and of course, looking for little treasures to bring back. It’s these little things that we carry back in our suitcase that remind us of the things we loved about the place we had to leave.
At STN, we are exposed to all kinds of new foods, smells, clothing, simply from what people bring back from their trips. But with only one carry-on bag for an entire month, what do people choose to take up their precious space?
In today’s blog, our creative arts producer, Kirsten Roskos shares what treasures she picked up when she was in Bangladesh with the team in April. Enjoy getting a little glimpse of a Bengali market, and maybe make a shopping list for yourself if you are headed that way soon!
Today, we are giving you a look at the bookmarks bar of staff member Jeremy Seick. Jeremy is a proud native of the PNW, specifically representing Oregon. At STN, he is the Outreach Director and heads up the Feeding The Hungry program, bringing food and encouragement to thousands of people each week. In between long days of outreach, these are some of his favorite sites to keep up with. -EJ
1.) One of my top bookmarks is Deer Lodge. Not only because it is run by a close buddy of mine, Matt Jones, but also because he has a keen ear for all that is rad and authentic in the current music scene. The site includes music, reviews and interviews and even some exclusive video content. If you love music it needs to be a go to. Pitchfork is another site I frequent for updates and happenings on relevant music.
2.) Another top bookmark is The Zombie Apocalypse. Let’s face it, we are far overdue for a Zombie Apocalypse. Be responsible about this. If you don’t how to live off the grid or the proper way to terminate a zombie, you aren’t going to last a minute out there. Don’t be ‘that guy’. Study up and survive out there.
3.) Finally, I love checking out Poler Stuff. For the adventurer in you, Poler has all the gear you could ever need for your epic weekend in the wild. They also have a killer blog that tracks their team’s adventures to some of the most remote and beautiful places on earth (and to top it all off, they are based out of the Northwest)!
Surfing is infamous for being chosen by kids over school since anyone can remember (probably since its existence!) And who can blame them? Of course, surfing is more fun than sitting in a classroom hour after hour. But the freedom that is felt when skipping class to surf, crashes down as the kids go into the ocean of adulthood; when their lack of education hinders their ability to live productive and debt-free lives.
One non-profit organization, Balikbayod (Returning Wave) is revolutionizing the way kids approach education and surfing by creating a program that incorporates both. When you break down Balikbayod, bayod is Suriganon (language of the island of Siargao) for ‘wave’ and balik means ‘to return. Balik both reflects the Filipiono-American founders who return to their island, and the culture of giving back that they are committed to bring with them.
The concept of bringing opportunities for surfing to the kids of the Philippines came when Balikbayod founder, Lynn, was visiting her native country. She noticed that nearly everyone enjoying the Philippine’s waves were not local Filipinos, but tourists. Lynn wanted to see the kids enjoy the wealth of their country’s waves. One of the kids asked her to bring them a board when she came back. Knowing that she could not bring a board for just one child, she started to think of ways to make surfing possible for the kids in Siargao.
Through a team of hardworking volunteers, an after-school board borrowing program was put together at the surf break known as ‘Cloud 9’. The dream of seeing the kids of Siargao have access to boards was realized, but there was the age-old problem of the kids choosing to surf over their studies!
The teachers on Siargao island sought out a partnership with Balikbayod, and together they came up with a plan to keep the kids in the water and the classroom.
The kids are not allowed to attend the program unless they are confirmed by the teachers to be attending school and maintaining good grades. If they’ve already dropped out of school, they have the opportunity to use the boards if they continue their schooling through the alternative learning system. The after-school program instills a culture of sharing and mentorship, as the kids learn to share all of the boards, make repairs when needed, and the older kids teach the younger ones how to surf. Surfing The Nations has had the chance to see the local groms stoked and thriving through this powerful combination of ambition in and out of the water that Balikbayod promotes.
Balikbayod has found a way to not only integrate education into a surf lifestyle, but make it a primary part of it: They have made education the currency of surfing for the kids on Siargao. This system is changing the mindsets of kids and teaching them how to value their education and take care of each other. It’s teaching them to honor, care for and take ownership of the opportunities given them, whether it’s a homework assignment or a surfboard. Balikbayod’s motto is, “Supporting education first, through the love of surfing.” One can only imagine how much of a positive impact this is going to have on future generations of Filipinos.
While there are team members running the board borrowing program at Cloud 9, there is a whole team facilitating the acquiring and sending of the boards in the Bay Area of California. The community in San Francisco comes alongside Balikbayod, from donating boards, to participating in board repairing parties and fundraising events. If you’re in the San Fran area, make sure to check out their art fundraiser at the I-Hotel, July 28th and August 25th! Check out their website for more ways to get involved!
Like most people, we love having coffee to start our day off, or to accompany a book, meeting, or chat with a friend. It’s a simple pleasure in life; a companion to your daily grind. We at Surfing The Nations are fortunate to have the amazing Surfers Coffee Bar right next to us that is completely non-profit and volunteer-run. All of the STN staff has had a chance to volunteer in it and seen the way that The Surfers Coffee Bar has become a haven for many community members and a place where hospitality and kindness is cultivated. Read below to find out more about what the SCB is all about and how you can help them in their kickstarter campaign to continue the good work.
The most loved photos that are taken on Surfing The Nations international trips are the ones where there is an unexpected clash of worlds: where the little boy in Jordan is skateboarding on Roman ruins, or a camel is strapped down with surfboards in the middle of the desert. Surrounded by different environments, to find something familiar is a rare treasure, and often it is those seemingly small things that end up building friendships.
Surfing The Nations connects with people from all walks of life on the common ground of surfing, and second to that comes sharing a cup of coffee (or tea!) with those we meet. For whatever reason, there’s something that bonds us when sitting down over a warm drink: doors are open, hospitality is extended and strangers become friends.
Surfers Coffee Bar shares a similar vision as Surfing The Nations in using their passions to give back to the community.
The Surfers Coffee Bar wasn’t always in a welcoming area. The strip where the building is now was once home to seedy businesses that caused people to avoid the street altogether. The people behind SCB had a vision to take a dark, cigarette-stained bar and make it into a welcoming coffee bar; not only serving up coffee, but providing a place where the community can study, meet, relax, and enjoy the live music on Wednesdays and Fridays. Their motto ‘More Than A Cup Of Coffee’ reflects the fact that they’re a non-profit whose earnings go towards the humanitarian work in Hawaii and internationally through Surfing The Nations. Even the tips are used for the furthering of humanitarian programs! Another way that SCB gives back is that the coffee beans they use in their drinks are all fair-trade and benefitting the local communities that the coffee is coming from.
The Surfers Coffee bar has been all about giving back and for almost two years now.
Now they are asking for you to in turn, give back to keep it going! Right now until July 26th, the Surfers Coffee Bar is running a Kickstarter campaign to purchase a new espresso machine! Things get old and everything needs replacing eventually, and this hard-working machine is seeing its last days. It’s a simple thing to pitch in to help purchase an espresso machine, but it means that the doors of Surfers Coffee Bar will stay open and ready to serve countless people.
Check em out! http://surferscoffee.com/donate/