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The credit belongs to those who are actually in the arena

April 12 2013 | Chapters, Activism,

I had coffee this morning with Terry Rogers, an activist from our San Diego chapter. We spoke for over an hour and the subject of our dialog kept coming back to the same thing, the priceless value of Surfrider's grassroots network.

We repeatedly pointed to people in the Surfrider network who are real, credible authorities in coastal communities all over the United States... and increasingly around the world.

Terry shared his own experiences with me, from tabling at San Diego events to his involvement in pushing local campaigns forward.

We also repeatedly referenced Jim Jaffee in our dialog. This was partially because we were meeting in a coffee shop quite close to Jim's house, but mostly it was because of the value Jim has delivered to North County San Diego. He has devoted the better part of twenty years to the seawall issue in Solana Beach.

As we chatted, I noticed the center of gravity of our discussions was... volunteers and activists, it always came back to the true value of this network.

Terry got up and left, and I opened my email. One of the first messages had the Teddy Roosevelt quote to the left as its over-arching, opening theme.

I'm guessing that we've all seen it and the many variations on the theme, and yet it hit me a bit harder this morning.

Of course it was delivered over a century ago and under much different circunstances than I'm discussing here today.

This quote encapsulates something so important, something priceless.

It points to the larger value associated with those men and women who engage in a process and make a difference. This is not a quote about a bunch of talking heads or people debating on an internet forum. It's about personal engagement at a deeper level.

Thomas Jefferson was certainly right with his "all men are created equal" words and yet his quote begs the question "what happens after that?" I.e. You're born... but what will they write on your tombstone? This is where Roosevelt's words dovetail in.

I've traveled near and far and what I've seen is, generally speaking, there are two buckets of people. Those with opinions on how everything should be... and those that make a difference. 

It was great to spend some time with you this morning, Terry.

Any time you can connect with a Surfrider activist , I suggest that you do. You'll be reminded why the Surfrider network is as valuable as it is.... it's because of people like Terry.

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