An organization is first of all, people.
At Surfing The Nations, people from several nations, backgrounds and influences come, bringing with them a countless number of interests.
One thing that we all have in common is that we all strive to live inspiring lives, and thus have our specific sources of inspiration.
In this new blog series, On My Bookmarks Bar we introduce an STN staff member and their favorite websites that they’ve bookmarked and continually frequent to keep their creative juice flowing.
We hope you find a few new favorites of your own, and get inspired!
On My Bookmarks Bar
Kirstin Anderson, Graphic Designer
From Naples, Florida, USA
1.) For all things design, I love to get inspiration from this site:
2.) Radiolab is my source of food for thought. The podcasts are full of creative and interesting stories based on science. I like to mix it up and listen to this instead of having music on while I work.
3.) I use these two websites to keep up on upcoming concerts. BAMP keeps me in the know with what shows are coming to Hawaii, and with songkick, you can search for shows in cities across the globe.
4.) I love getting new music from the Roxy Blog. Roxy is a brand that reflects the surf lifestyle and I can always find something I like from their picks.
5.)Refinery29 is one of my favorites to keep up on the trends in fashion.
feature photo: cultofmac.com
Let me set the stage for you: Crowds numbering over 1,000. Flowers falling from helicopters like snow in the sky. Oversized photos of teenagers hoisted into the air. Leis made of flowers and money held in outstretched arms. What is this? A Hawaiian high school graduation, of course!
I was incredibly blessed to be able to attend a friend’s high school graduation this Spring. His name is David Dawson. David is one of the most caring and generous men that I know. He gives more than he takes and is always willing to extend an open hand. I met David over a year ago while I was a part of STN’s Service Team. We met in a hole. No, not a metaphoric hole, but a real dirt and mud one. I was digging an eight foot pit in order to get to a blocked sewage pipe and that is when David arrived on the scene. He had come STN to volunteer with us and thankfully, was there just in time. We talked quite a bit that day, as you tend to do in a confined space, and really got to know one another.
Over the next few months I got to know David quite well and was really impressed with his character and work ethic. We were doing hard work at the time, but David never complained or shirked his duty; he persevered and continued to serve STN and his community, Wahiawa.
David has lived on Ohai Street since he was eight years old. Living in a place notorious for violence and drug activity, a child’s future on this street often has far too many dark options. But David knew who he wanted to be. To stay focused in the face the temptation of drugs, fighting, and vandalism was a challenge, but he fought against the drift and used his football and volunteer work to stay on course. Going to college has always been a goal for him, and a dream for his family as well.
Through hard work and dedication, David graduated high school. His name was called and he went up on stage to receive his diploma, smiling the entire time. Not only did David graduate, but he also received a full tuition scholarship to the University of Hawaii, Hilo! I am incredibly proud of David. He put his mind to it and succeeded as a result. Dedication and determination are truly the ingredients in the recipe for success.
Thank you David, for being a true friend and for all your work in the community! ” -CJ
Header photo credit: western.edu
Surfing The Nations bids farewell to its long-term staff member, Chris Rehrer. After eight years, three cities and over 15 countries with STN, he has left his mark on the character of this organization and impacted many lives around the world. Read to end to see where he’s off to next (ok, it’s Australia!) and all the fun bits in between to get the insider’s look at what it means to be a long-term staffer with STN. -GP
GP: What was your very first full day at STN like?
CR: I arrived on June 15, 2005 at Honolulu airport. I borrowed a cell phone to call the office (I’m old enough to not have owned a cell phone by the age of 21!). I was told to look for two girls driving a white van: Kristin Flynn – who would later be my co-worker for years – was one of the girls to pick me up. She put an orchid lei around my neck and threw me in the car, telling me how much I was going to love Surfing The Nations. We got on the highway to go to Kalihi valley, where STN was then located, when our car sputtered and ran out of gas. We sat in the middle of the intersection, so my first official STN duty was to push a 15-passenger van out of the middle of the road with the other girl in the car, my new little Brazilian friend Sophia. About 25 minutes later, the oldest man in the world to me at that time, Bobby Baggett (who is still with STN!), came down with a gas can to help us out. This was the start of my amazing adventure with STN.
Once we arrived at the property, I was greeted by a team packing for their trip to Indonesia. I met Hanna who was from Switzerland, David (Davo) Strigl who was from Florida, Sam Culver, Shane and Brad from Florida and some others. As I was unpacking, I got this crazy feeling. “What the heck am I doing?” I thought. “I just moved on a one-way ticket to an island in the middle of the ocean!” I soon realized that this was going to either be a terrible decision or a great one but I needed to simply embrace it for what it was and fight the urge to immediately buy a ticket back home.
In the afternoon my friend Petey Helenius, who had convinced me to go to Surfing The Nations with him, arrived and we talked about the adventure ahead. Pretty soon someone invited us to go to the beach to surf. We headed out to Kewalos and had a blast! I remember being surprised by the power of the waves even on the South Shore compared to what I had been used to in California. Later that night, we arrived back at STN where we were having an orientation for the Indonesia trip. I met some people who became my first local friends in Hawaii. They took us around over the next couple of days and taught us about what it was to be a Haole and if someone calls me a kook it’s probably not a good thing. I learned what a moke and titta were as well as how not to speak pidgin!
That was my first full day. The adventure started out amazing and has continued to be an incredible journey. I wouldn’t trade the past eight years of my life with Surfing The Nations, for anything. They are the best years of my life hands down! I will be forever changed from that first day.
GP: What’s the most exciting country you’ve been to with STN?
CR: It would probably be Iran. As soon as Tom and Kristin Flynn and I decided that we were going, people decided to tell us why it was impossible. We were told that we couldn’t get visas as Americans. We were told that if we did get in, we would be harassed by customs officials and put in prison. We were told that it was foolish and that we should look for a better time when it was safer to enter the country. After all of these warnings, we decided to go for it anyway. It was an amazing journey. We had no problems. Kristin and Nikki Beck went one way around the world from the US and Tom and I went through the Middle East. We stopped in Bahrain and Quatar and arrived in Tehran where our official guides met us. We drove through the night and woke up the next morning to fresh snow on the mountains. Throughout the next nine days we made amazing relationships with our guides, their wives, their families and friends. We were welcomed back and we met some of the friendliest people in the world. Everyone was blessed and curious as to why Americans would be coming to Iran when Iran and the USA were obviously so at odds politically.
I think that the risk we took to go there during a time when people said it was stupid, showed the Iranian people that we were just people too, that we didn’t hate Iran, that we loved people. We wanted to be genuine and kind and share life with people all around the world, no matter their religion, ethnic background or nationality. It was one of the greatest trips of my life. The cool thing about going where people aren’t willing to go is that they want to hear about what happened when you went. Tom and Kristin and I had so many opportunities to come and share what our experience was with people when we came back. People always want to be on the cutting edge of things but often times lack the ability to push themselves over. We had pushed the envelope and returned unscathed and now have the stories to tell personally. We lived the adventure on that trip and that’s why I love STN because it’s all about living the life that others want to live but often need an example to follow.
GP: At Surfing The Nations, you get to meet a lot of people and live with a lot of people. Over the past eight years, who has been your best and/or worst and/or weirdest roommate?
CR: My best roommate was Andrew Carrier. He and I spent a couple of years together after my friend Peter Helenius left STN. I liked that we could both be either clean or dirty, which meant that often our room would look super clean and we would both be stoked and often it would look trashed and we would both be stoked!
I think the weirdest roommate I had was Niklas Eriksson because he had a whole closet full of strange moisturizers and lotions. I always told him he should open up a salon or something. He might be the prettiest man I’ve ever met. If I ever have skincare questions there’s no way I’m going to the doctor, I’m just calling up Nik!
GP: What are the things you’ll miss most about STN?
CR: I’m going to miss the friendships and the culture of people who want to live radically. People here are striving to do really great things for the world. I know that this is not unique to STN, but I’ve found it in this family that I have been a part of for eight years. STN is a family; it’s not just a job, so, in a sense, I’m leaving my family and going into the unknown. I will miss traveling the world and meeting 150 new roommates every year. I’ll miss the late night conversations and early morning surf sessions. I’ll miss the adventurous personalities who come through. I’ll miss Swedes arguing about whether spanking is right or wrong, why it’s illegal to fish with live worms. I’ll miss the melting pot of nations who come through Hawaii and STN. I’ll miss the weather! I grew up at STN. I became the person who I am today because of the trials and the joys that happen in that place. I’m 100% positive I would not be the man that I am today with out the experiences of traveling the world with Tom Bauer and having him show me the kind of life that I want to lead. If we’re really all going to just die and take nothing with us when we’re gone then we might as well spend all of our time giving to others while we are here. That is what I’m going to miss about STN but hopefully I’ll take it with me wherever I go and instead of a subtraction it will become a multiplication of what Tom and Cindy Bauer started 16 years ago.
GP: What’s next for you?!
CR: I am going to work with an organization called XXX Church. My first assignment with them is in Australia, so I’m headed there June 1st to start the next adventure!
To keep up with Chris Rehrer, check out his website www.chrisrehrer.com
Today’s post is from one of our internship staff members, Andy Keefe. Andy, a native Aussie just spent some time in his home country, promoting STN and connecting and encouraging people whenever possible. We are stoked to have some more Aussies (and kiwis!) at STN in the near future!
“This last month I have been so privileged to be part of the very first Australia promotional and recruiting trip with Surfing the Nations, nd to put it in so many words, I was frothing!!!! Accompanying me for various parts along the way were Chris Rehrer and Australia’s very own Ame Schadel.
Throughout this time, we were fortunate enough to meet so many amazing organisations, churches, schools, and business’ which were more than happy to get involved and help us spread the story of the good that is happening in Wahiawa and other parts of the world.
Before any of the PR work began, I thought I’d take the liberty to head up towards my old friend Noosa, a long time favourite surf spot. After surfing a couple of hours at Noosa, one of the most crowded waves you’ll ever surf, I noticed some kids dropping in on everyone in brightly coloured vests and as I investigated more closely, I saw that they were from a local school. Then an idea struck me like someone just turned on a switch; Australia is full of little blonde haired grommets who love to surf, and travel, and most of all are adventurous cheeky youngsters. From there I started making phone calls to the school where they came from to try and talk to the surf school teacher. Yes that’s right, in Australia you can take surfing as a subject. As soon as I mentioned to the lady on the phone that I saw them in the water, you could tell she was thinking, ‘Oh no,what have they done’. After getting in touch with the right person, I was stoked to find out that these kids were just about to go on a surfing outreach trip to Bali as the school excursion for the year. Before long, Chris and I got the chance to go to the school and stoke these kids out on their trip just days before they left. I have a feeling we might be seeing some of these kids in Hawaii someday, changing the world.
Next stop was Easterfest. Easterfest is a huge Christian music festival which, of course, occurs over the Easter weekend, where somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 people and make the yearly pilgrimage to the rural city of Toowoomba. Surfing the Nations setup a small booth where we talked story for three days and shared with hundreds of people a little bit about what STN is about. One of the greatest things I got out of this experience was that I had my eyes opened to so so many other amazing organisations which support absolutely fantastic causes. I mean if you ever start to think that this world is a bad place, you just need to take a look around and you’ll realise also how much good is actually happening in the world.
Amongst all the connections made, the individuals visited, and the places we spoke at, I was most of all blessed just to hear people’s stories and take time to inspire and encourage them. It really is amazing how sometimes we can just be connected to the right people, at the right times, in the right place.
Overall, the recruiting trip was a huge success, and much Aloha was shared with the Australian people. In fact, even after a long day I met a girl from New Zealand who we invited to come to Hawaii to join us. I must have been delusional from standing up for 13 hours, but nonetheless, the invitation was made, and we may have another kiwi on our hands!”
It’s always fun to work in a place with creative and talented people. Today’s post is from native Floridian and musical artist, Sheree Pantuso (artist name, Sheree Michele). Sheree is currently on staff here at Surfing The Nations, but she first experienced Surfing the Nations when she came to our one-month summer program, Summer Challenge. The Summer Challenge program is packed with opportunities to give back to the community every week, and go exploring the island the other half of the time! Here she gives us her perspective on her month in Summer Challenge (and while you’re at it, give a listen to Sheree’s amazing rapping ability on her new EP here !)
“Have you ever experienced a time in your life where you have felt refreshed on the deepest possible level? Have you experienced a much-needed time of rejuvenating your soul and washing away all of the burdens that life can soil us with?
I experienced this deep refreshing during my experience of serving at Surfing the Nations in the Summer Challenge program. Before I arrived, I felt weary from the place life had me at. I was nervous to move to an unfamiliar place for a month and experience something totally new and different. This leap of faith to go serve and experience the Summer Challenge program turned out to be one of the best decisions that I have ever made!
Participating in Summer Challenge gave me so many incredible experiences and growth opportunities, ranging from acts of serving like Feeding The Hungry to teaching kids how to surf and swim. My eyes were truly opened to the world’s needs around me. I got to experience giving back to the community that I was in and I learned that I really come alive when I put the needs of others before myself. It was a beautiful thing to see the hope and transformation that Surfing the Nations has brought to Wahiawa. To personally be a part of that transformation and witness it first hand was a great honor and joy.
Another aspect of the Summer Challenge program that brought me refreshment was the constant adventure that we pursued : Diving into the beautiful waters of Hawaii and witnessing the beauty of the land is something that will stay with me forever. I was so blessed to have the opportunity to go on different hikes around the island, spear fish for the first time, camp on the beach while falling asleep to the sound of the tossing waves, and of course, surf! I felt like a little child in complete awe of the beauty of everything around me.
I would highly recommend stepping out of your comfort zone and pursuing an experience like Summer Challenge.Not only does it refine you as a person, but it also refreshes your spirit, soul, and body with new adventures, new friendships, and memories that will last a lifetime. ” -SP
It has been a quick yet fabulous month in Bangladesh and the team has been making their way back home to Hawaii. 12 hours on a bus from Coxs Bazar to Dhaka, an airplane through Thailand, and a couple more flights over the Pacific and I’m sure they will be sleeping for the next day just recovering from an exhausting travel.
Rickshaws rides and elephants, surfboards and street-kids, three-pieces and board shorts. You can begin to realize the world of a difference the sport of surfing might pose in a country like Bangladesh. But after only 30 days, the 2012 Bangladesh team hosted a nation-wide surfing competition in Cox’s Bazar, an all-girls surf camp and outreaches to the neighboring country of Myanmar. Continue Reading
On July 16th -August 18, founder of Surfing the Nations Cindy Bauer and two STN staff members, Renee Arnold and Julie Nelson, took off on a trip to Sweden and Ireland. STN Sweden is in its early days of forming and developing so Cindy, Renee and Julie went over to meet with the Swedish staff, help cast the vision and equip the leaders. Renee and Julie jetted off to Ireland for a week to get to know the people there and scout out a place where STN Sweden could send teams to for humanitarian and surf outreaches. Here is an excerpt from Julie that she wrote as the trip was coming to an end: Continue Reading