Over view of the Urban Surf 4 Kids & So Cal Surf Dogs Surf Event for Foster Youth on June 9th 2012
Written by Stephanie Dao – Urban Surf 4 Kids intern-
June 9, 2012- What A Day!
What has four legs, a tail that wags, and a love for riding a surfboard? For all those who were present at Ocean Beach Dog Beach on Saturday, June 9, 2012, that question will most likely be recalled with a smile— So. Cal. Surf Dogs, of course! While Urban Surf 4 Kids has held some pretty incredible surf camps in the past for foster youth, this surf camp event was especially “paw”-some because this time around, the kids had some furry friends to keep them company and provide barks of encouragement while “on board”!
But, first things first! Before heading out to catch some waves with the So. Cal. Surf Dogs, the kids and volunteers were provided with an ocean safety briefing from Stacey, a fellow volunteer and qualified lifeguard. This safety briefing was helpful for those who had never been in the ocean before, or were less familiar with ocean precautions. Afterwards, the attendees were given the opportunity to participate in a warm-up yoga session, taught by Eugenia, a certified yoga instructor who had heard about Urban Surf 4 Kids’ cause, and felt the desire to support the event in some way. Giggles could be heard throughout the yoga circle, as everyone tried their best to keep up with Eugenia’s Downward Dogs and Warrior Poses- but that didn’t stop everyone from trying their best!
It was finally time to get into the water and, more importantly, go surfing! Volunteers picked out surfboards, as the kids donned their wet suits and smiles. The So. Cal. Surf Dogs were ready to rumble and happily trotted towards the water alongside their soon-to-be surfing buddies. Needless to say, the kids, volunteers, and the dogs all had a ball of a time! It was so exciting to see some of these kids, who have never been surfing before, standing up on their boards and riding out the waves. Their excitement, determination, focus, and good spirits throughout the entire event was so contagious!
As far as pre- and post- surf fueling, the kids and volunteers had their choosing of 4 different pizza flavorings from Ocean Beach Pizza Port (cheese, mushroom, green pepper, and pepperoni), organic PB & J sandwiches, all-natural potato chips with guacamole and salsa, and lots of juicy, colorful fruits to keep everyone’s bellies happy after spending some time in the sand and surf. Saturday’s speakers included Esther Palomino and “The Waterman,” who offered riveting accounts for their listeners. How wonderful it is, to have individuals who enjoy sharing their stories!
I learned a few things from Saturday’s surf camp. First of all, wow- dogs and kids are a great bunch of surfers! They came, they surfed, they conquered! In addition to what I learned at the event itself, though- besides the various planning skills that I acquired from coordinating the logistical aspects of the event- I learned that there is never a true end to how much heart a community can give and provide to and for one another. With just a handful of hours committed from a handful of able individuals paired with the generosity of a few different organizations, we were collectively able to develop an event that was fun, meaningful, memorable, and possibly even life-changing for those who came out. Being present on Saturday was eye-opening because it expanded my belief that with time, effort, and love, you have the world in your hands. If there is a will, a drive, a goal or a vision- you already have begun to plant the seeds of a strong foundation. When all of those factors are paired with action and true compassion- everything is in your power to make that vision become a reality! Saturday’s event as a prime example of this, and made me more aware than ever that, quite literally, anything is possible!