Summer Challenge: June 2018

As the first month of our Summer Challenge program comes to an end, we’re sharing a mosaic of voices from the June session with photos from 17-year old Canadian, Halle, and reflections on the last month from the journals of two ladies from New Jersey and California.
Kate, 20, from New Jersey appreciates what Surfing the Nations taught her this month –
Summer Challenge has been one of the most life changing, fun, adventurous, and of course, challenging experiences for me. While the leaders took time to be intentional in all that we did, they were also so easy to approach with anything. With every challenge that came our way during these last few weeks, we were met with support and encouragement from our leaders. I was challenged in ways I least expected and grew so much because of it. My favorite parts of Summer Challenge were getting to know such a wide variety of people, making friends with them, and enjoying the beauty of the island and ocean in the best ways! As I reflect on this last month with Surfing the Nations, I realize I’m leaving Hawaii with new friends, new experiences, and a more profound desire to take risks.

Christina, 20, from California reflects on how Summer Challenge opened her eyes to the small blessings of life – 
I don’t know what I did to deserve this awesome adventure called life. I’ve grown up in a small, mountainside town outside of one of the coolest cities in the world – Los Angeles. I’ve lived where quiet, sunny days, kind hellos from neighbors walking their dogs, and poolside barbecues at my grandparents house was the norm. The blessings are abundant – I’ve driven through stormy, pink rock valleys of New Mexico and flooding tropical storm greens of Tallahassee, jumped off a dock into the Gulf of Mexico, walked through the Colosseum and the wintery summer Alps, rode every ride at Disneyland, hiked the ruins of Machu Picchu, and eaten at a Waffle House in 8 different states, all while being lucky enough to miss the place I call home. I have been given a chance at life, and everything I need. But this month, with the help of Surfing the Nations’ Summer Challenge program, I realize that I’ve received so much more: I’ve been able to truly live. Here on Oahu I surfed the coast, ate acai bowls for three meals in a row; I swam with jellyfish and hiked through breathtaking pieces of creation. I surfed above a shark, and snorkeled alongside feasting sea turtles. I lived with 16 girls from all different parts of the globe, and made 16 new best friends. I’ve seen the city-light painted shoreline of Waikiki from a surfboard at night, and the peaks of Stairway to Heaven from the top of Chinaman’s Hat. I’ve paddled a kayak out to islands a mile away, and laid beneath a summer solstice sunset in the presence of a double rainbow. I helped serve food to 1,500 hungry people in one day, and jumped from cliffs into Waimea Bay. I’ve gotten to live. Maybe one day I’ll live out my dreams. Maybe one day driving on open highways in a pickup truck with country music will be my norm. Maybe one day, I’ll live with a man and our children where quiet, sunny days, kind hellos from neighbors walking their dogs, and poolside barbecues at my parents house are the norm. But, if Surfing the Nations has taught me one thing, it’s this: until that day, I will put my face towards the sun and smile, basking in the glory of the blessing of today.

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