Most of my parents’ friends were working in foreign countries while I was growing up. When they’d make their occasional visits back to the USA, they would come over and have dinner with us. After dinner, the coffee would be made, the photos would come out, and the stories from far off lands would flow. I’d sit there wide-eyed as they described the adventures of making a foreign place home, learning the culture and loving the people.I remember seeing the photos of families living a very different life than I was. It was in those moments that I was exposed to the reality that there were so many kids my age living in harsh conditions, without any hope of things ever changing.
The brokenness of the world was laid before my eyes. But I was looking at it, and they were living it.
What could someone my age do about the plight of children in nations all over the world? An answer came when I started to see posters of something called Operation Christmas Child (OCC). OCC is a program run by humanitarian relief group called Samaritan’s Purse. To participate in Operation Christmas Child, you can pick an age category for either a boy or a girl and fill a shoebox with gifts. You could put a letter and a photo to your specific child if you wanted to, and after that, you just added your fee of $7.00 to cover shipping. It would then be sent to children in need all across the globe for Christmas.
Operation Christmas Child became one of the most exciting things about the holidays for me. It was a thrill to pick basic things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, school supplies, and adding the fun stuff like candy, toys, and books. As I followed my Mom through the store, I’d pick something up and imagine the certain girl I was shopping for holding that item. Long before I ever stepped onto third world country soil, I had gone there, in the aisles of a supermarket, through the visions of the shoebox and the child that would hold it.
For years I participated in Operation Christmas Child, even taking a few trips to the processing center in Charlotte, North Carolina, where thousands of boxes were being inspected and made ready for shipment.
In the Western world, we consider Christmas as a time to get the ‘goodies’ or ‘treats’; the extra stuff we won’r allow ourselves the indulgence of during the rest of the year. As I opened each shoe box, I saw that some of them were packed with socks, pencils, and other basic things that we might not be thrilled to find under our tree. But the longer I worked with OCC, the more stories I began to hear of kids that received a box with shoes that were just their size, or a child who had prayed for socks, and received a box with several pairs.
Now, Operation Christmas Child is in their 20th year. They’ve given gifts to millions of children, and I know that OCC was one of the reasons that my dreams grew to help people worldwide, as I saw the practical ways I could meet needs. Now, my full time career consists of doing work in that same realm.
This is national collection week for the shoeboxes. Now, through November 25th, you can find a drop-off location nearest to you and if you pay online, you can print out a barcode for your individual box and track it as it goes to your child!
All shoeboxes collected from Hawaii will be going to children in Nepal. Come visit us at Surfers Coffee Bar this week, drop your shoebox off and grab a great coffee at the same time!
Receiving hours for Surfers Coffee Bar:
Thursday- Saturday 7 AM- 7 PM
Sunday and Monday 7 AM- 12 PM
Tomorrow, November 15th, and Saturday, November 16th, 63 S. Kamehameha Highway will be overrun by artists and musicians, vendors, surfers and surf enthusiasts from all over. STN’s ‘Surf Art And The Surfer’ art show serves to gather the island of Oahu to celebrate the sport of surfing and the people who make it great.
In the 30’s and 40’s surfers were viewed as the deadbeats of society who threw off responsibility in exchange for what was deeemed a wasted life. However, today you are just as likely to find a US Senator, a doctor, lawyer, pastor, or any type of businessman in the lineup with groms and surf bums. The sport is now widely enjoyed and appreciated for the simplicity, beauty and positivity that it promotes.
We have invited some of Hawaii’s best surf artists, photographers and collectors to feature their work and show the public how surfing is documented as an art form and as a lifestyle.
Join us as we kick off the winter season on the North Shore and celebrate the world’s greatest sport!
A portion of the art sales this weekend will go towards the humanitarian work of Surfing The Nations.
The Philippines is famous for its world-class break ‘Cloud 9′ on Siargao Island, secret surf spots and breathtaking nature. As amazing as the memories and the photos are, when the time comes for you to board that plane back to reality, you’ll want to bring back some things to remember your epic surf trip by (and maybe some stuff for those back home that couldn’t join in the adventure). Here, I’ll show you some non-cheesy souvenirs you can pick up in this amazing country:
1. Sarong- If you travel a lot, you know how valuable it is to have both a versatile item with you that also doesn’t take much space in a suitcase! Sarongs are perfect for beach days when you don’t want to carry a bulky towel and can serve as a towel, pillow, scarf, or super flimsy blanket when you’re traveling. One night I missed my flight and had to crash at the Rome airport. I was in the midst of traveling for a few days, so my sarong served as both a towel AND a blanket. Needless to say, it’s my new best friend.
2. Goggles- The Philippines is country made up of 7,000 islands, so the Filipino people have been watermen for centuries and made the gear to go along with their lifestyle. These goggles are about as simple as they can get, with a plastic coil, wooden frames, plastic lenses and thread. Yet they are unique and represent an innovative people. Grab some of these to bring back, as well as the handmade wooden fins they use to swim with!
3. Hammock- Not so much a traditional lazing hammock as it is a swinging hammock, these are everywhere on the trees on Siargao Island. The kids pile on them and swing as high as they can, and even though they don’t look so comfortable, you can definitely still find a sweet spot and get a good nap in. Don’t try to fit more than one adult in them though- one of the funniest memories we’ve had of our trip was of a hammock snapping from that very thing!
4. Cloud 9 candy bar- The surf break itself is named after this favorite candy bar, so you know it’s got to be good! Most people compare it to the taste of a Snickers bar. These are great gifts for your family and friends back home.
5. Shells (and things made out of shells)- The shells on the beaches of the Philippines are unreal! They are perfectly formed and covering the beach wherever you look. It’s easy to find some colorful, fun jewelry to have as a memory and for gifts.
6. Hand carved slingshots- I wouldn’t go into battle with one of these, but the simplicity of these slingshots are what makes them special. I have many memories of walking down the sandy roads of the village and seeing the kids playing with them. They represent both the playfulness and resourcefulness the Filipino people.
7 and 8) Shirt and bag from ARTWORK- On the way to our remote destination of Siargao, we had to wait a long time for our boat, and most of that waiting was done in shopping malls in Cebu. If you’ve ever been to a shopping mall in Asia, you know how overwhelming it can be, so we were fortunate enough to happen upon this rad store. ARTWORK is an 18 year old company that started out as a manufacturer that specialized in silk screen t-shirts but has now become a popular T-shirt retailer with complete clothing lines. We had no problem killing time as we looked at the many graphic designs influenced by art, music and pop culture.Some of my favorites were graphics that were made with masterpiece paintings morphed with different shapes and colors. From their bags down to their dressing rooms, ARTWORK is full of fresh, unique design. Their website definitely doesn’t do them justice, but check it out at artwork.ph
Cover photo credit: brommel.net
Surfing The Nations will be leaving for the middle eastern country of Turkey this November/December! This pioneer trip is an exciting new step toward bringing the message of “Surfers Giving Back” to the world!
Yesterday, Surfing The Nations was honored to be named as an Outstanding Advocate For Children and Youth in the state of Hawaii. Governor Neil Abercrombie and Hawaii State Representatives honored several other individuals and organizations as a part of Children and Youth Day, and Children and Youth Month.
We are humbled and stoked to be a part of bringing hope to the next generation of Hawaii!
It’s time for STN to get back on the road for the 2013 California recruiting trip!
This year, you’ll get the opportunity to meet and hang out with some amazing people: The legend himself, Tom Bauer, founder of STN, Zach Ifland who is our Director of Operations, and his wife Charis Ifland, Director of Business Operations. Joining them are our Oregon-ians, Julie Nelson, the head of STN’s surf department, and Jeremy Seick, the outreach director at STN.
Here are some of the major stops they’ll be making:
Oct. 26th: Dane William’s Memorial Surf Contest – http://danewilliams.org
This contest is honor the memory of a friend, Dane Williams, who was raped and murdered. STN has helped put the contest on alongside Hurley for the last couple years. They will be serving the Huntington Beach surf community and have an STN booth there to share the message of “surfers giving back”. Come join STN at the contest to surf and help out!
Oct 30th - Nov 1st : Azusa Pacific University
STN will have a booth set up on campus, ready to hang out with students and alumni and anyone else who happens to be there! If you or anyone you know is at APU, be sure to come cruise!
We’ll be updating as they travel, so keep checking back for updates!
Follow the trip on instagram! #stnrecruit
Introducing an in-depth look at the up and coming staff members of STN! Right now they are going through their three month training in Surfers Leadership School. The new staff is compiled of three Americans and two Swiss misses! Get to know them better here, and stay tuned for more on their leaders and their upcoming Big Adventure trip to Molokai!
the A M E R I C A N S
Name: Daniel Udell
Born and raised: Dallas, OR
Hidden talent: Handstands.
A superpower you’d like to have: Flying and Regeneration!
Favorite animal and why: Wolverines. They never quit.
Hardest thing about moving to HI: The heat.
Greatest thing about moving to HI: The beautiful ocean!
Why you chose SLS: I want to grow and challenge myself.
What are you stoked for about SLS: The coming challenges and opportunities.
Name: Casey Marissa Daniels
Born and raised: Tacoma, Washington
Hidden talent: Turning strangers into friends.
A superpower you’d like to have: Teleportation
Favorite animal: A flamingo
Hardest thing about moving to HI: Leaving my Mom, my little brother and southern cooking.
Greatest thing about moving to HI: I live 15 minutes from the nicest beach in world!
Why you chose SLS: Because I knew if I want to really change the world, I would have to change my life first.
What are you stoked for about SLS: Living in the wilderness for seven days.
Name: Kathrine Sue (Katsu) Relph
Born and raised: San Diego, CA
Hidden talent: Construction
A superpower you’d like to have: To shoot wet noodles out my fingertips.
Favorite animal and why: A giraffe; it’s tall like me.
Hardest thing about moving to HI: Road trips are kind of difficult…
Greatest thing about moving to HI: Food! Poke!
Why you chose SLS: Utilize my strengths and grow in my weaknesses.
What are you stoked for about SLS: Teachings and adventure trips.
the S W I S S
Name: Mirjam Schneider
Born and raised: Müchenbuchsee, Switzerland
Hidden talent: I’m a ventriloquist
A superpower you’d like to have: Teleportation
Favorite animal and why: Horses. There’s a feeling of freedom when I ride them.
Hardest thing about moving to HI: To leave my family, friends and the language.
Greatest thing about moving to HI: Having the ocean and warm weather.
Why you chose SLS: Being changed and changing lives.
What are you stoked for about SLS: Learning by doing and adventures.
Name: Doris Lüthi
Born and raised: Rothrist, Switzerland
Hidden talent: Acting
A superpower you’d like to have: To be invisible
Favorite animal and why: A donkey. They’re cute, intelligent, and live in herds.
Hardest thing about moving to HI: Leaving my family, friends, dogs, and the forest .
Greatest thing about moving to HI: Endless summer and rainbows.
Why you chose SLS: It’s the best place to grow personally.
What are you stoked for about SLS: Unfolding my talents and gifts
In just one week, these students, along with their fearless leaders will embark on a trip to the wilds of Molokai. Living off the land and under the stars for 7 days! Check back for updates on their journey!
We are stoked to announce that Movement 52 has chosen Surfing The Nations as one of their charities to raise funds and awareness for!
Movement 52 is an organization of that has an amazing vision to raise awareness and funds for one charity a week in an effort to be a ‘catalyst for generosity’. They aim to take complex problems all over the world, and help find solutions with a simple formula: 1) Identify a need 2) Raise Funds 3) Repeat.
How do they raise funds? This is the part where it gets fun for all of us!
They design a few different shirts for a different company each week, and then sell the shirts, with a percentage of the profits going to that week’s charity.
That means, for one week ONLY, they’ll be selling their shirts with three different designs with our logo, on 8-12 different shirts (and just in time for fall you can buy the first ever STN hoodie through the campaign)!
For every shirt purchased 6-8 dollars will go to fund Surfing The Nations International outreach efforts in countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, The Philippines and The Middle East!
It’s running for one week, starting Wednesday, October 9th through October 16th. You can purchase the shirts through their website http://movement52.org/
Check out how M52 works here:
Surfing The Nations has been working for several years with the kids from a transitional housing shelter in Waianae, teaching surf and swim lessons every week. The kids that participate are living through some unstable and challenging situations and need something to give them hope, and more importantly, someone to be there for them and believe in them.
Throughout the years, Surfing The Nations has seen the Waianae Surf Club grow and thrive. Cobian sandals came alongside the Waianae Surf Club and TJ Barron taught at the first Waianae Surf Camp last year. Ever since then, our partnership with Cobian has given the kids some amazing opportunities.
This weekend, for the second year in a row, kids from the Waianae Surf club will be participating in STN’s Freedom Surf Contest. Cobian has sponsored five contestants from the club, giving them the chance to use everything that they have learned to compete. The big picture is to not only enable the kids to compete, but to inspire them to dream without limits and view themselves and their futures with hope, despite the hardship and poverty that they’ve experienced.
Check out the Cobian video with TJ Barron at the Waianae Surf Camp, and come to the contest to cheer them on this weekend!
Fall is officially here! Some people know it’s fall by the changing of the temperature or the leaves changing color (or the return of pumpkin spice everything) but at STN we know it’s fall because of the new arrivals! We’ve started a new SLS class with five new students from Switzerland and the United Sates and this weekend we welcome 35 new interns from all over the globe!
Alas, although the season has changed, summer is not soon forgotten! Summer 2013 was one for the books. To give you some proof of that, we’ve put together a little video for your enjoyment.
Thanks to all who participated in the trips, internships, and summer challenge!