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!
This holiday season, Walmart is running a Food Pantry Holiday Makeover campaign to help food pantries across the nation refresh their facilities. The competition is run via social media and the top 75 food pantries with the most votes will receive $20,000. Funds from this campaign would allow us to continue constructing the food pantry in our Community Outreach Training Center, and all it takes is five easy steps!
- Go to walmart.com/holidaymakeover
- Scroll down to where it says VOTE TODAY!
- Type Hawaii in the search bar
- Click VOTE under Surfing The Nations
- Share with all your friends and REMEMBER TO VOTE EVERY 24 HOURS!
(Voting ends 11:59 pm EST December 12th)
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!
Jeremy Seick, Zack Williams, and Renee Arnold from Surfing The Nations are here in Mexico City recruiting. We are being hosted by the amazing Maria “Nana” and Paola in one of the craziest cities we’ve ever been in. Here are some highlights from our first couple days. One of our first stops was Maria and her brother Rodrigo’s school Beraca, in Saint Jeronimo. We chatted it up with passionate young people, one of our favorite being Emilio who gave Zack a tech deck to “remember him” by.
Then it was off to Transformacion Urbana located in Chimalhuacan, 2 hours away from our home base but amazingly still within Mexico City (this place is massive). After being led through at least an hour of shanty homes and towns we reached the organization, and were given a tour of their programs. Transformation Urbana is an organization that equips and educates people in low-income communities. This education spans from local government to healthy eating and living through Zumba and soy supplement cooking classes. Oh and for lunch Zack and I got the pleasure of eating breaded pigs feet.
More of our adventures have included 2 AM taco runs with the whole family, mariachi sessions, dogs with dreadlocks, eating ram, cactus, pigs womb, horchata, and socially acceptable pork rinds. Probably the highlight spontaneous moment of the trip happened during a quick lunch stop at Arroyo. While looking for the mens room Jeremy stumbled upon a bull fighting arena. While watching for just a moment he saw what was a young boy no older than 10 fighting a massive bull. During a maneuver the bull’s horn lifted him up and threw him to the ground Hulk Hogan style, leaving the boy frozen on the ground bleeding. Jeremy ran back to find us and we returned to witness this young boy return to the ring after being bandaged, and having lost the use of one arm, to dominate this beast. He returned with dignity, passion, and confidence like none I’ve seen. He commanded the mariachi’s “Musica!” and defeated the massive bull to the applause of hundreds of onlookers.
…And they’re off!
Last night we sent out five of our staff to California, thus beginning our 2012 California/Mexico Recruitment Tour. I had a chance to peek at their schedule and it looks pretty packed with visits to Azusa Pacific University, Point Loma, Hurley International and the Dane Williams Memorial Surf Festival – and that’s just in California. Continue Reading
Last month, we had a new surprise addition to the STN buildings.
Carson Myers, longtime friend and staff member at STN had been sneakily putting together a room where the artists of STN could create in their free time. Through Carson’s vision and hard work, the back of a run-down house became ‘The Back Room’ and Carson held an opening party to celebrate.
We love this room and are excited to see the amazing creations that come out of there. Thanks Carson!
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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