September 10 2015

Our Club Network #MakeWaves

by Ericka Canales

Watch out world! From Washington State to Florida and Hawaii, Surfrider’s student activists are ramping up for the 2015/16 school year.

The Surfrider Foundation piloted our youth engagement program in 2008 in response to overwhelming interest across the country from young people that wished to become more involved in protecting our coasts.  Our youth engagement program has made incredible strides over the last six years, expanding into more than 40 school communities in 12 states from East to West coasts.

Surfrider’s club network provides a platform for young people to engage in ocean conservation action.  Mirroring, and even assisting chapter campaigns in some areas, students focus on the development of environmental stewardship projects - at their schools, campuses or local communities. These projects have ranged from beach cleanups to plastic free campus to installing Ocean Friendly Gardens.  In addition, Surfrider looks to expand our platform to students such as alternative school break projects, attending youth conservation summits, and virtual classroom opportunities for them to engage with sustainable business leaders, filmmakers, athletes ambassadors, and other role models who are making a difference for our ocean and coasts.

The club experience goes well beyond filling some community service hours. Our club network differs from other youth engagement programs out there due to our grassroots mission-based approach to project learning. We teach and inspire young people to:

  • Develop awareness of issues affecting our ocean and coastlines;
  • Construct collaborative solutions on what they learn;
  • Build communication skills that move others to action;
  • Engage in hands-on field experience opportunities to help with future career aspirations; and
  • Most importantly, be able to make a tangible difference around their interests and passions.

Our success to affect widespread action to protect our coasts comes in part by motivating these ordinary young people to take action in local coastal conservation.  The club network sets the stage to ensure our network grows and builds the next generation of leaders. 

If you know a high school or college student that is looking to make waves of a difference, encourage them to get involved and plan their club rush today!