How do you get more than a thousand locals to an event?
Surfrider's goal is connecting people to the idea that they can be part of the coastal conservation movement.
Since we’re focused on this connection, we pay attention to where and when it’s being done well (so we can share those best practices with the rest of our chapter network). Last month the Huntington Beach / Seal Beach chapter hosted their annual Ohana event and, once again, attracted over a thousand people.
To better understand this I called Tony Soriano, the chapter chair. He shared the following with me.
“The event is an extension of Earth Day. Cindy Duncan started it four years ago because it brings the community together. It has a primary focus to connect with kids and let them know what’s going on with their local environment."
I love the straightforward and approachable elements of this event. Even the name, Ohana, suggests that we're all in this together.
The Ohana event is a social gathering with educational components. But it also ties in local partners like the Junior Lifeguards, the Shorebreak Hotel and the Long Beach Aquarium. I love this as well. Coastal communities should be thought of holistically, with a goal to find a way for everyone to be a part of preserving the places they love.
When I think of the large-scale challenges Surfrider is dealing with like the massive amount of single-use plastics in our oceans, it's events like this one--events that bring the community together and offer some fun alongside educational elements--that make me think that we CAN make the difference that's needed.
Kudos to the Huntington Beach / Seal Beach chapter for starting this event four years ago and keeping it as inclusive and community-oriented as they have.