Posted by Rick Civelli | 09.16.2011 | Teen Camps
Katie Martin – Travel Highlights from WB Surf Camp Hawaii 2011
Let me tell you about how lucky I am…
I got an opportunity to go to Hawaii, again, to lead a trip for WB Surf Camp this year.
This summer two groups of teens traveled for two weeks to Oahu, Hawaii. Last year the kids only got to stay for a week. I was so excited to get a chance to lead this trip and share my previous experiences with the other surf camp counselors and campers.
I have to say that this summer’s trip brought many welcomed surprises. ..
First, I had the rare opportunity to see a Monk Seal play in the waves. There are only fifteen hundred of these beautiful creatures left in the world. So when I got to see one and share some waves with it, I felt so fortunate. As if this wild life encounter was not enough, while sitting in the line up with the campers, a green sea turtle bumped into my leg. I’m not going to lie. I was a bit nervous at the initial bump, but when this little guy poked his head up and looked at me it made me laugh. How cool is it that we get to share the water with creatures that have been around longer than man? I’ll never forget looking into that turtle’s eyes.
Another fantastic surprise came during one of the surf sessions with my group. The night before this session we watched the film Step Into Liquid, so we all were excited to be in the water the next day. As I was helping one of the girls paddle back out, this lady paddled by on a long board. Just after she passed my camper said to me, “Hey isn’t that the chick from the movie we watched last night?” I glanced on over and sure enough it was Rochelle Ballard! Very cool! As our surf session went on I noticed that she was watching our operation. She paddled over and asked me what we were all about. I told her our story and mentioned that we were looking into doing some community service. She lit up with excitement and started rattling off a bunch of contacts and work that she does on the island. As the session was drawing to a close, the last camper caught a wave in just after Rochelle. I caught one last wave and as I was going down the line caught a high five from Rochelle. If only all business could be conducted this way. We ended up taking all twenty four kids to Rochelle’s Wellness Center where they learned about invasive plants, composting, and local flora and fauna. To finish up this incredible experience we all went over to the beach to do some sunset yoga and swim. What a great surprise!
Another really cool aspect of this year’s trip was watching the kids challenge themselves and overcome their fears and frustrations. One day we were at a rock formation and had the chance to leap off into the water. I charged it with no hesitation, but noticed that some of the girls were a bit timid. One, in particular, wound up to jump three times and just couldn’t do it. I had the chance to talk to and encourage her, then found myself on top of the rock with her. I took her hand and on the count of three we jumped. The look of satisfaction on her face made the trip. When she climbed back up the rock to do it on her own, it was just icing on the cake. This excitement was shared through all types of experiences, from surfing first waves to taking first hikes and absorbing the gravity of Pearl Harbor. What a cool way to spend two weeks.
I would be honored to lead this trip again, as it seems to me each time brings new surprises.