Surfing The Nations introduces the Alumni Wave! Our all-new, interactive newsletter will be launched this month!
Ever wanted to know what your old roommates from internship were up to? Wondering how things are going in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh? Hoping those little Ulu Pono kids you poured into are still going strong?
We want to help you stay connected to your friends, classmates, and what STN is doing now by sending out regular emails featuring YOU! Look out for the first installment coming soon, and learn about how the old brothel behind the former strip club is finally blossoming into a creative space, filled with fun and education for Wahiawa’s youth!
In the coming months, we want to showcase what you’re doing – new businesses, families, races run, awards won – please send your info to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add you to our next newsletter!
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!
On the nights of November Friday the 21st and Saturday the 22nd, we hosted our 2nd Annual Surf Art and the Surfer Art Show. The event was lead and coordinated by our Surfers Leadership School students as a part of their class project. Between both nights, over 350 people attended to see live art and the work of artists such as Paul Forney, Mark Brown, Leanna Duncan-Wolf, and many more. It was quite an extravaganza bringing the art community to Wahiawa. On Friday night, live music was provided by the Ron Artis II band, while Streetlight Cadence performed Saturday evening. Various vendors and foodtrucks participated in the event as well. Awareness was not only brought towards Surfing the Nations, but also Wahiawa and surfers in Bangladesh.
One of the significant moments of Saturday night was the presentation of a check for $60,000 for the building of the Community Outreach Training Center, given by First Hawaiian Bank.
President of First Hawaiian Bank, Sharon Shiroma Brown, who has been an advocate of STN from the beginning stages, presented the check.
”When I first got the offer on my desk from Surfing The Nations, I said to my friend ‘Take me there!’ I wanted to meet Cindy Bauer. I wanted to see what was happening in Wahiawa. It just surprised me, in terms of what was happening here (before), and I’m so glad I came out. I met Cindy and I saw her vision and how passionate she was; how committed she was to make this all happen and we (First Hawaiian Bank) are so proud to help in this transformation.
Check out photos from the event on our flickr page!
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!
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.
Aiming to take our commitment of character and leadership building to the next level, Surfing The Nations is excited to add a new leadership training program to its roster: S.A.L.T. – Sailing Adventure Leadership Training!
This program gives senior STN staff and volunteers the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to set sail around various Hawaiian Islands on a 96-foot sailboat, SSV Makani Olu, for one week. STN will partner up with The Marimed Foundation for this incredible excursion. Marimed was established in 1984 and delivers ocean and land-based learning experiences that empower youth, adults and families and strengthen communities (http://marimed.org/ ). Not only will the adventure develop skills in teamwork, decision making and adaptability, but STN staff will fully crew the ship: flexing their leadership skills by managing and operating the vessel over a continuous period, day and night, in some of the most intense ocean settings.
The trip will be an experience in what it means to be a true waterman. It will draw on each staff member’s endurance – mental and physical – and teamwork skills to achieve the team’s goals in the face of difficult challenges, unfamiliar obstacles and some of the harshest natural elements. Water-based activities the crew will also be participating in include snorkeling, free diving, spearfishing and fishing, while enjoying remote hikes during their anchorages.
/// Partner with Us
Help by donating to send this team on a life changing training experience. Your investment in a volunteer crew member will equip them to be world-changing men and women of character, ready to face the challenges that come with leadership, teamwork and the great outdoors.
$1,100 per person
Includes all meals
Transport to and from ship
Team activities (fishing, sailing, safety, education, etc)
Safe Arrival Dinner
CPR First Aid Certifications
/// Excursion Dates
Trip is weather dependent & based on Captain approval.Tentative dates range between
November 13th – November 19th, 2014
Follow us on social media to stay updated!
PC: Dai Mar Takmarack
Project Serve, an alternative spring break program offered by Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, allows students to travel together on an adventure and experience a “vacation” where the focus is not on themselves, but on serving others.
Project Serve teams, which are composed of students and led by students, travel to many locations in the U.S. as well as internationally. The goal in doing so is to remove comfort zones and increase student awareness of issues being faced by others around the world.
For the past two years, Surfing the Nations has been selected by Pepperdine University as one of the opportunities offered within the program. While both Pepperdine and STN have similar goals regarding the service of others and fostering leaders, we find a significant point of connection through surfing. Rated one of the top ten surf colleges by SURFER Magazine, Pepperdine’s association with STN is a perfect fit.
Pepperdine students that have been involved with STN’s programs through Project Serve share the experiences they have had with our organization and the impact our interactions have had on their learning experiences.
Sarah Madsen, Senior at Pepperdine:
This past spring break, I had the honor of co-leading a group of 25 students on a service project in Wahiawa, Hawaii, where the organization Surfing the Nations is located. It was honestly one of the best experiences of my life. My team and I did a wide array of activities, from barbecuing at Waikiki and sharing meals with homeless and visitors alike, to helping hand out donations from the food bank, to surfing (of course!)…and I loved every minute of it.
All of the interns at STN were so welcoming and hardworking, and they really showed love in all they did. I am overjoyed that Pepperdine has strengthened their ties with such a wonderful organization, and I’m excited that more of my peers will have the opportunity to volunteer with STN!
It is amazing to see how STN is being used to do great things in Wahiawa, and I’m excited to see [future groups of] Pepperdine students be inspired to join in!
There are a several memories that stand out most prominently when I think back on my time with Surfing the Nations. One, among many, is watching a poor, single mother’s face light up when founder Tom Bauer sold her a computer for $4. Another is STN treating us like family from our first encounter and teaching us to surf during our first day there. Another is having lunch and conversations with homeless people on the beach.
Falon Opsahl, Junior at Pepperdine:
I was a member of the first Pepperdine team to work with STN for Project Serve in 2013. We were given the chance to explore the island and serve the people for a week. By the end, my body was sore and exhausted, but my heart was refilled, my mind was refocused, and my soul was rejuvenated.
Between surfing on the North Shore of Oahu, clearing a riverbank of debris, cleaning and reorganizing an ex-strip club that had been converted into a storage house for goods for the poor, hiking and jumping off waterfalls, feeding and hanging out with the homeless, and staying up late bonding with my Pepperdine team and the long-term STN team members, it was one of the most draining and inspiring experiences of my life.
I am grateful that I was able to pioneer the Project Serve partnership with STN. I am excited for my fellow Pepperdine students, present and future, who will be able to experience and spread the love, generosity, and selflessness of the STN organization and its team members.
Esther Kang, Sophomore at Pepperdine:
When I first found out that I was assigned to spend my Spring Break in Hawaii, I was “stoked” as the Hawaiians call it. Great waves, an opportunity to serve the people of Hawaii and an awesome group of friends….What more could I ask for? My experience at STN, however, was so much more than this. STN has left a mark on my character and now holds a very special place in my heart that I will treasure for the rest of my life. During my stay in Wahiawa I was consistently challenged, exhausted and pushed to my limits but this further ensued an increase in my faith, a deep sense of connection with the people around me, and the most fun and satisfaction that I’ve ever experienced in my life.
Our first day serving food at Waikiki beach especially opened my eyes and helped me to reflect on my own character; It not only prompted me to see how blessed I am to be able to afford shelter, education and basic necessities, but this experience and the people I’ve conversed with also forced me to see the selfishness and oblivion that I have been living in day to day. One of my jobs that day was to hand out grocery bags that contained different canned foods and other goods in them. I remember giving a bag to one woman who waited next to me until most of the bags were given away. She finally shyly approached me and said that she already received a bag but that she would like one more to bring to her neighbor who needs it more than she does. She had politely waited another hour to make sure that she could bring home another bag for her neighbor. As I handed her another bag she thanked me with all her heart and I couldn’t help but think that I should be thanking her more for showing me what true selflessness looked like. Throughout the week I was able to witness many more similar acts of genuine altruism and kindness by people who I would have simply passed by if I was in Hawaii as a tourist.
Furthermore, each and every STN crew member has taught me that a life of service and devotion is far more valuable than a life that is lived to serve myself. The enduring enthusiasm and determination of the STN staff has inspired me to take further steps to live a life for a greater purpose and adopt a heart of service even if this simply means taking baby steps within my community. The peace and satisfaction that I felt while serving at STN was like no other and if I had the opportunity to work with STN again, I would do it a hundred times over.
As Pepperdine students and the STN crew worked hand in hand, I truly felt surrounded by my family, or my “Ohana,” and I am thankful every day that we have been paired together for a greater cause. I personally feel that Pepperdine’s accreditation of the STN internship program would be a great way to lead Pepperdine students to an experience of a lifetime. There are very few experiences that significantly leave a mark on a person’s character, and I have no doubt that my experience at STN has done this to my life along with many others. It has impacted the way I see the world, and helped determine the path that I will ultimately choose to take in life.
To learn more about Pepperdine University visit: http://www.pepperdine.edu
To learn more about Project Serve visit: http://www.pepperdine.edu/volunteercenter/opportunities/projectserve/
Written By: Akela Newman
(Photos courtesy of Esther Kang, Pepperdine Project Serve 2014)