Born a water-lover in middle America, I grew to become an ocean-lover through family vacations to the coast. My earliest recollection of our ocean ventures is a trip to Treasure Island, Florida at the age of four. Believe it or not, I vividly remember being lathered up with sunscreen, playing in the sand, dipping my toes in the water, and napping in our cabana. I was hooked. With family vacations being few and far between, I spent most of my time at the beach of our local reservoir and at the swimming pool, as a swimmer and diver. I'll never forget when the beach at the reservoir was posted as closed to the public because of chronically high bacteria counts. I remember going to the beach just to be there and looking longingly at the water but not being allowed to go in. It was the pits. In fact, that's how our family ended up at the pool, because the beach was no longer a fun place we could be.
As I grew older and was thinking about college, I dreamt about moving to California where, in my mind, it was all sun and beaches...and surf! What more could one ask for, right? Long story short, I was able to fulfill this dream a few years back and, even better, I was able to find work protecting the beaches and waters that I longed to be so close to. Thus began my work with the Surfrider Foundation. I happily served as the Central California Regional Manager for 6.5 years and am excited to continue to support our chapters in my role as Chapter Manager.
As a beach and ocean lover, I feel compelled to protect our coast for myself (selfish, I know) but also for future generations. Our coasts are so rich in life, history and culture...without stewards to care for them, they would easily be lost to exploitation or become victims of the wayward priorities of mankind. Luckily, it's easier now than ever to be a steward. Even the busiest people can find ways to plug-in by signing a petition or becoming a member of ocean-protecting organizations. Everyone can do something, and that something -- whatever it is -- is what counts.