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:
We had an amazing time in Sweden. Collecting my thoughts to give you a solid explanation of our duration in Sweden seems to be more than a cup of coffee is cut out for, but nothing another can’t fix. While we were in Sweden our focus was to equip and inspire the committed volunteers of STN Sweden. Laced between meetings and business our most effective moments were simply living life and having faith together that mountains were going to be moved. Sweden is a beautiful country and the adventure is happening and change is inevitable.
Change can happen just by one small conversation. One of the most entertaining travel moments was when we were in London on a lay over in between Sweden and Ireland. We were visiting a friend that was in the Summer Olympics and Renee and I started talking to a police officer at the Tower Bridge. We simply just wanted to see how his day was going and my friend, Cyrus, leaned over and says, “Do you guys have to talk to everyone?” I smiled and thought to myself, ”why not?” It’s the simple encouragements in our day that can be the catalyst to a larger change.
Ireland can’t go without mentioning more than a sentence cameo. The desire to go to Ireland was to mobilize our Swedish staff to take a trip to a neighboring country that is in major need (and, let me add, has amazing surf). We spent a week in Ireland and every day was devoted to understanding the culture, diving into the community and being a sponge to the needs. We had the opportunity to give surf lessons to a crew of local kids. These kids lived minutes away from some incredible surf breaks, yet they said that our spending time and surfing with them got them stoked to get in the water more. The whole theme of the time in Ireland seemed to be ‘inspire’. From the kids getting excited to surf, to the many adults who said their desire for adventure had been re-awakened, we watched people get motivated to do more and get more from their lives. We got to live life along side some of the most beautiful stories and we are blessed to be a page amongst the chapter they are in.
We are stoked to see STN Sweden grow and eventually become the European base for Surfing the Nations. Cheers to an amazing adventure that has only just begun!