Members of the Ucluelet Secondary School Surfrider Youth Club enjoyed a team building surf session at North Chesterman Beach on March 14. (Nora OMalley / Westerly News)

Meet Canada’s first Surfrider Youth Club

Ucluelet Secondary School students raise awareness about protecting the environment

Sporting their new, grey Surfrider Foundation hoodies sponsored by Live To Surf Tofino, 12 Ucluelet Secondary School students huddled around teachers Jason Sam and Kevin Nixon after an inaugural beach clean and surfing field trip.

On March 14, the crew cleaned Wya Beach and then paddled out at North Chesterman Beach as a group. In only a couple hours, the eager bunch collected 57 plastic bottles and 538 pieces of marine debris.

This team-building expedition marks the first of many for the young crew of environmental advocates. Come May, they will journey as a group to clean the Wild Side Trail on Flores Island.

“I am extremely excited for the future of the Surfrider Youth Club and for the future of all our communities on the West Coast,” said Surfrider Youth Club co-chair Emmett Wellman who helped secure funding for the Flores trip by applying for the Stewards of the Future Grant from the Lieutenant Governor of B.C.

“I sincerely believe that we are moving towards a brighter and better future thanks to all the hard work of people like Jason Sam, Lilly Woodbury, Michelle Hall and all the rest of the people that are part of the Surfrider Pacific Rim Chapter,” he said.

The Surfrider Youth Club was established back at the beginning of the school year, in September 2017. They are a certified member of the Surfrider Foundation, and operate like a mini Surfrider board with their own executive committee in place.

Grade 8 student Toby Theriault is co-chair alongside Wellman.

“We are the first Surfrider Youth Club in Canada. We are hoping to pave the way for more in Victoria and on the Island,” she said.

Mackenzie Hale is responsible for social media. She runs the clubs’ Instagram and Facebook: @SurfriderfoundationUSSClub.

“A lot of what Surfrider does is raising awareness of what’s happening. Some people don’t live on the ocean like this. Even if you don’t live on the ocean in Ucluelet and Tofino, [pollution] will find its way,” said Hale.

They all expressed the fact that even though they have official roles on the executive committee, it’s what one does that makes the difference.

“If you’re not part of the board, you can still do as much as you can,” said Theriault. “Anyone can come. We always need help. Everyone is welcome to join. There are no closed doors.”

Wellman reiterates.

“There would be nothing without the countless dedicated volunteers in our communities and their devotion to the protection of our local wildlife and ecosystems,” he said.

Since forming, the Surfrider Youth Club has created a waste free lunch program at USS.

“We’ve done several waste free lunches where you bring in your own Tupperware and stuff. It’s like a challenge for the school,” said Theriault, noting that the movement is catching on.

“We had at least 20 people come to our table every day and check-in with a waste free lunch.”

RELATED ARTICLES

Surfrider Pacific Rim rides wave of success (March 13, 2018)

VIDEO: USS students visit Tofino Recycling Depot (Dec. 2, 2017)

Surfrider helps students turn trash into art (July 5, 2016)

Just Posted

UPDATED: Fatality at highway crash in Nanoose Bay Friday afternoon

Accident happened just before 4 p.m. near Hillview Road

School district changes mind, won’t cut community school coordinators

Budget initiatives proposed for next school year

City of Nanaimo’s proposed resolutions rejected at local government conference

City council had contingent at Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities convention

Lack of security: why Vancouver Island food production is on the decline

Big Read: agriculture a big, expensive commitment as advocates push to make us more food secure

Nanaimo region receives $700,000 in federal support for summer jobs

Funding for Nanaimo-Ladysmith up $74,000 from last year

Lt.-Gov. Guichon believes she made the right decision in last B.C. election

Outgoing Lt.-Gov Judith Guichon said her most memorable moments weren’t surrounding the election

Students celebrate new indigenous garden

Garden teaches students about traditional uses of local plants

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

RCMP discover beaver the culprit in break-and-enter attempt

Nanaimo RCMP responded to a 911 call on Sun Valley Drive on Wednesday night

NAFTA: Talks continue through weekend in scramble to get a deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called negotiations ‘perpetual’

Pulp mill fined $900,000 for leaking effluent into B.C. lake

Mackenzie Pulp Mill pleaded guilty to depositing deleterious substance into water frequented by fish

B.C.’s 2-year lobbying ban starts May 1

Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists can grant exemptions from the prohibition if public interest

Horgan speaks of government’s successes to ‘friends’ at CUPE BC convention

CUPE BC president Paul Faoro said was first time a B.C. premier addressed convention in some time

Speed Skating Canada fires coach Michael Crowe after investigation

Crowe was a coach on the American team from 1983 to 1991 and again from 1999 to 2006

Most Read