Surfers Transforming Lives
Youth Mentoring Connection’s STOKED CITY SURF CAMP provides Los Angeles youth the opportunity to ride the waves at local beaches. For many of our youth, this program means seeing the beach for the first time in their lives, despite living less than a 30 minute drive away. Others who did not know how to swim learn to be comfortable in the water. Our youth face enormous obstacles and live in high crime areas where they are constantly exposed to gangs, drugs and violence. Surfing helps heal wounds and expand perspective.
Each of the mentees is paired with a surfing mentor. They work together to get comfortable on a board and riding a wave on their stomach. Then they learn how to push up and ride the wave standing. It is a wonderful sight to see nearly 100 volunteers and mentees at the beach surfing and teaching.
One of our mentees recently said:
“I feel so alive when I am surfing. I feel like this is my life. If I make a wrong turn, I’m thrown back and encouraged to try again. When I choose the right path, I’m led to the most awesome waves to ride.”
Learning to conquer the waves is a powerful teaching tool, helping our youth to find ways to overcome challenges in other aspects of their lives. Exposure to the ocean and to mentors who come from all walks of life broadens the perspective of young people.