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Home for the Holidays?

Christmas is a holiday marked with a plethora of traditions. From opening all of your presents on Christmas eve to eating Christmas brunch instead of having a large dinner, the holiday is celebrated with customs unique to each family and individual. To get a taste of this variety, we asked a couple of our staff what their plans were this holiday season, along with a tradition.

Heading home for the holidays, Camie Abernathy of Paso Robles, CA, shares, “I am looking forward to being home and sitting by the fire. My immediate family meets up with the community of friends I grew up with (about 5 families in total) and we get ridiculous hats and musical instruments and have a party. Each family gets little gifts for the other families, like socks or ridiculous gifts, and we all bring deserts and just hang out. It is one of my favorite traditions.”

Flying to the east coast is Becky Harm of Titusville, Florida, where the humidity and tropical weather is similar to Hawaii’s. “My family has a tradition of watching a different Christmas movie every night in December. My life in Hawaii is so different, so the only tradition I have kept is keeping December festive. Growing up in the tropics I learned that the feeling of Christmas is not about the weather, but rather how much you put into it.” states.

Not everyone on staff is heading to their stomping grounds this year. Although remaining on Oahu this Christmas, Aquila David will be incorporating some old and new traditions this year. “This holiday season I am looking forward to singing classic Christmas music with a warm cup of chai in my hand.” He shared, “When I was growing up on the Island of Kauai, Christmas was a time for family outings. We would head to the beach early in the morning to watch the sunrise and drink Hot Cocoa together. This Christmas, it would be fitting for us who are here to watch the sunset together in the water surfing, doing something we all love.”

Merry Christmas from your Surfing The Nations ohana!

 

 

STN takes Billabong Pipe Masters!

Today’s blog is coming from Surf Team Representative, Dylan Owney!

Surfing The Nations has been given the opportunity to be a part of the Billabong Pipe Masters this year! This contest is the biggest surf event of the year and it is happening right now on the North Shore of Oahu with a waiting period between December 8th-20th.

The Billabong Pipe Masters is the most anticipated surf event of the year where 32 of the world’s top surfers compete at the most prestigious wave in the world, Banzai Pipeline. Surfing The Nations is partnering with Kaiser Permanente during this event, where we will be handing out sunscreen, beach balls, entering people into raffles, organizing games, as well as talking story. If you are in the area, head over to the Pipe Masters and be sure to visit us under the Kaiser Permanente tent.

We are located right in the middle of the entrance of the contest in the Ehukai Beach Park. You’ll be sure to find us in our bright green shirts!

Images by: Amanda Thibault

 

An Easy Way to Give Back!

This holiday season, Walmart is running a Food Pantry Holiday Makeover campaign to help food pantries across the nation refresh their facilities. The competition is run via social media and the top 75 food pantries with the most votes will receive $20,000. Funds from this campaign would allow us to continue constructing the food pantry in our Community Outreach Training Center, and all it takes is five easy steps!

  1. Go to walmart.com/holidaymakeover
  2. Scroll down to where it says VOTE TODAY!
  3. Type Hawaii in the search bar
  4. Click VOTE under Surfing The Nations
  5. Share with all your friends and REMEMBER TO VOTE EVERY 24 HOURS!

(Voting ends 11:59 pm EST December 12th)

A Cup of Thanks

In the season of Thanksgiving, it is easy to be captured by the hustle and bustle of getting ready for one family dinner. From finding the perfect Turkey, to racing to get the house cleaned for the relatives, one can easily forget that this is the one time a year set aside to give thanks. Coffee shops are always flooded with busy shoppers and travelers, and what a better place to get people to stop and think?

This November, the Surfers Coffee Bar began running the “#30daysofthanks” social media campaign. Pieces of paper with the question “ What are you thankful for?” written on them were distributed Thursday, October 30th. Immediately, responses came flooding in. Barista Leah Gingery states, “I think people like opportunities to share what they’re thankful for in a world where the primary focus is what you don’t have.”

Once the customers filled out their response, they had the opportunity to have their response posted to the Surfers Coffee Bar Facebook page. The campaign has proven to be a huge success in the amount of responses that have been returned. From ‘gummy bears’ to ‘grandchildren’ responses have ranged from simple to complex, but nonetheless meaningful.
Happy Thanksgiving from your ohana at the Surfers Coffee Bar and Surfing the Nations!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Outreach Training Center Is Being Built!

Earlier this year, we saw the timber fall in phase one of our project to build the Community Outreach and Training Center (COTC). Now we are seeing dreams of having a designated space for our Ulu Pono Kids program come to fruition as the project starts moving forward!

One person in particular who is excited about this is Brittany Southwick, the Ulu Pono Kids program Director. She says, “It’s going to be a game changer for the kids in the Ulu Pono program. To have have a place that they can be creative and thrive. I can’t wait to see the growth in this program that can come from finally having a consistent facility.”

We are now in phase two! The foundation is being built that will sustain a community program for years to come. Businesses, schools, churches, and grants have helped us reach this point, and as the concrete begins to settle,we still need you to see this project through.

We invite you to partner with us in transforming Wahiawa into a safer and better place to live. You can join us by giving towards our 2014 Year End Giving campaign in mid-November, or if you would like to donate now, you can do so here, through STN General.

 

 

 

Surfing The Nations is a 501 (c) 3 tax deductible organization recognized by the US Government. All donations are tax deductible and tax receipts are available upon request.

An Unexpected Adventure In China

Meet Mitchell Guapo. A fresh-faced, 18 year old native of the High Desert of California. After graduating high school, Mitchell came to Oahu and interned with Surfing The Nations. Seeing that Surfing The Nations was a great place from which to impact the world around him, he joined STN’s full time staff as the coordinator of Ulu Pono Teens program for at-risk youth. A life in Hawaii was already far beyond his wildest dreams, but little did he know the ride was about to get that much crazier!

A few months ago, the founders of Zhou Enlai Peace Institute from China came by to check out STN’s vintage shop, The Vintage. After receiving a tour of STN, they were inspired and asked if a representative from STN could come and speak at a conference they were putting on for Chinese youth. They were looking specifically for a teenager from STN to represent the youth of America. Mitchell’s young age made him the perfect candidate for this opportunity!

It was my first time leaving the country so I was stoked!’ explains Mitchell. He was given the task of preparing a 20 minute speech about how to achieve world peace, and deliver it to a large audience. ‘That was definitely one of the biggest challenges: getting mentally prepared to talk to over 1,000 people!’ Few of us can feel prepared to talk about achieving world peace at any age, much less at 18! Mitchell’s main points boiled down to this message: We can only achieve peace in our homes, communities and the world after we have found peace within ourselves.

He arrived in Shanghai after flying for over 11 hours. Mildly jet-lagged and extremely excited, Mitchell made his way to speak at the event in Tong Li. In the ballroom of a hotel, he looked at the place where he would be speaking from. “It was a massive stage, with a large LED screen behind me, a runway before me, and an audience made up of people from all over the world.”  The whole set up was mind blowing. Nerves aside, Mitchell delivered his talk with the help of a translator, and received roaring applause.

Mitchell ended up staying in China for a total of ten days, spoke a few more times and made plenty of new friendships. When asked for his favorite memory of the trip, he was at a loss for words. “The entire experience was great; from the people to the city to the food, it’s hard to choose just one highlight. One the coolest things was hearing from the both the youth and adults about how inspired they were to see a counter-cultural lifestyle. They were surprised to find out that I was a full time volunteer, and moved by the fact that people believe in what I’m doing at STN enough to sponsor me to be on staff there. I’m glad I got to inspire them to live selflessly and out of the box in their own communities.”
Mitchell is back in action here at Surfing the Nations, continuing to mentor the youth in Wahiawa. At only eighteen years old, Mitchell has already been able to express just a few of his “out-of-the-box” passions and dreams at Surfing the Nations.