Through the Surf Mentor Program, we aim to improve happiness and quality of life through (a) fostering a feeling of inclusiveness, community, and personal accomplishment and (b) enhancing awareness of the connection between community and environmental stewardship. Specific outputs include 25% more hours donated to the community center (in exchange for using surfboards), increased participation of young adults, and a 50% increase in Bandera Azul program participation. The local youth will also have a stronger social network, greater confidence and support in each other.
Our new surf team enlisted in Venado’s environmental group, Bandera Azul Playa Venado. The goal is to connect their livelihood–surfing and fishing–to environmental stewardship (the importance of preserving and respecting environmental resources). Mauricio stepped up to be the leader of the Bandera Azul group and each member is responsible for hosting an environmental activity in Venado.
We are in the process of starting a small rental and repair business. The boards are available for both locals and tourists to rent. Any money made from rentals goes directly back to the community center. All of the surfers were taught how to repair boards and are in a rotation for the surf repair shop. Any money made from surf repairs go directly to the person who repaired the board. One of our volunteers, Maijor, stepped up as the coordinator to help organize this new small business. The business skills they will learn throughout the next few years will also useful in finding a job and reduce unemployment.
Community Health Impact
This program is targeted for at-risk youth in Venado whom are vulnerable to drug use, dropping out of school, and delinquency. Providing them with surfboards and encouraging surfing will promote a healthy lifestyle and distract them from “going down the wrong path”. Providing them with the opportunity to serve their community allows them to feel that they part of something bigger than themselves. It gives them something to hold on to and to be proud of.