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!
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!
Today’s blog is from our amazing Ulu Pono Kids Director, Katie Connor. This woman has an amazing (and patient!) heart for the kids on our street – and in my opinion, one of the toughest jobs at STN! She is constantly striving to make the program the best it can be and provide the children with every opportunity possible. However, there is one thing she cannot do – stop the kids from growing up! In today’s guest blog, she explains her plans and hopes for the Ulu Pono Kids program as its members become too old to be called “kids.”
“Ulu Pono Teens” – to this day, the name of this 4 month old program cracks me up. But let me set the stage before I explain why it makes me chuckle so much. The Ulu Pono Kids Program was created four years ago when the staff at Surﬁng The Nations saw a great need to hold an after-school program for the elementary age kids in the local area. The program was an immediate hit and quickly became a home away from home for them.
However, as many of those kids are now in middle school and high school, their interests have changed and most of their younger siblings attend the program. This age gap has caused many of them to drop out as it is hard to engage a 5 year old and 13 year old in the same lesson and social setting. We came to the realization that we needed to go back to the drawing board and create a program that would give the teens a safe place to learn and hang out while appealing to their age group.
Hence, Ulu Pono Teens was created. But at ﬁrst the program was nameless. As a staff, we tried to come up with a name that might appeal to teenagers – Wahiawa Gangstas, Ohai Ballers etc… We decided that at our ﬁrst meeting we would present the names to the kids, let them make their own suggestions, and then cast a vote!
Their favorite was “Ulu Pono Teens,” a name they created and they have shamelessly owned ever since (despite the fact that many are still 11 and 12 years old!). It is a simple name, but it describes perfectly where they have come from, who they are now and even who they are becoming. Although, it still makes me laugh that they didn’t like any of the elaborate names we had created!
To be in Ulu Pono Teens you must be in sixth grade or older, but our oldest kids are only 14 at the moment. Because of their age we have been able to do things that some of the younger kids may not yet be able to do, such as snorkeling, hiking and trips to the museum. Our heart is to show these kids that there is “life” and a future for them beyond their street and neighborhood; that they have the opportunity to follow their passions if they work hard. We also teach them basic leadership principles through simple things like neighborhood clean-ups to help them understand the importance of being upright citizens and members of their community.
We are so proud of these kids and are excited to see them continue to grow and develop into young adults over the next few years. We know that these kids have the power to inﬂuence the future of this community and we are honored to be a part of the continued change happening in Wahiawa, Hawaii.
To keep up with Katie’s personal adventures as the Ulu Pono Kids Director, follow her blog at adventurewahiawa.wordpress.com!
On My Bookmarks Bar:
Charis Bauer Ifland, Business Director
This week, we are sharing Charis Ifland’s favorite bookmarked websites. As a wife, business director and world traveler, this girl knows which websites are the best for helping her keep the many moving parts of her life in order! Take note, the next few websites you may want to remember!
1. Mint.com is a great tool to organize and manage your finances! It brings your financial information to one place, you can create a budget, and set goals to plan for the future. It helps save and enjoy the important things in life!
Last Saturday, Surfing The Nations got to participate in the 11th annual Wahiawa Pineapple Parade and Festival! We had a fun day celebrating the little town of Wahiawa we proudly call home with the rest of our community. From delicious local food vendors to an entire row of colorful bounce-houses, nearly everyone resident of Wahiawa came out on the sunny summer afternoon to take part in the festivities. The change that is occurring in Wahiawa is amazing and we love getting to be a part of it! Enjoy the photo recap below and see yet another reason why we love Wahiawa.
To learn more about the Pineapple Festival click here.
Don’t you love it when something that’s already good, gets taken to the next level and made so much better? That is what has happened at the Surfers Coffee Bar.
Thanks to the generosity of people in Hawaii and all over the world, The Surfers Coffee Bar, already an amazing coffee shop serving quality, fair trade coffee, is now serving drinks using a new grinder, filtration system and top quality LaMarzocco espresso machine.
Stop by and get your chance to test out the new machine! If you’ve already been to SCB, come try out your favorite drink with the new machine. It’s almost like visiting an all new coffee shop, but with all the things you loved about it still perfectly in place. If you’ve donated through the Kickstarter campaign, come and redeem your rewards!
As for my own personal review: this is not only for coffee drinkers! I took a break from my usual cappuccino and I ordered a chai latte. It was so good, that I literally turned around and got another one right after!
(Note to self: order the largest size next time!)
Come by this weekend! Surfers Coffee Bar, 63 Kamehameha Hwy, Wahiawa, Oahu.
This past week, we said ‘Congratulations’ and ‘Aloha’ to our graduating students in the Internship and Surfers Leadership School.
The summer internship was composed of five students representing five different nations: Australia, Sweden, Switzerland, Colombia and The USA. It was the one of the most internationally diverse internships yet! The interns accomplished a lot over the past three months: book reports, essays, working with our Ulu Pono kids program, teaching surf and swim to at-risk youth and feeding hundreds of people each week. Topping all that off, was a 10 day outreach to the Big Island!
Surfers Leadership School also graduated five full-time students and two part-time students this week.
The SLSers completed three months of leadership training, which included apprenticing in an STN department, leading activity days, teaching leadership principles, book reports, a final project, and of course, their Big Adventure trip to the Big Island where they lived off the land for a week!
Our part-time students, Jonas and Ann-Sofie, from Sweden, made the leap and moved their whole family to Hawaii to work with STN! They participated in the SLS assignments while still balancing their family and work life.
Now with the three months of SLS behind them, these students are stepping into full time staff positions at STN.
We are so stoked to have new members in our Ohana and an amazing crew of new staff members!
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!
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