Give & Surf: A New Way of Thinking
By Dan ferraro | 20 September 2012
Yeah, the waves are good.
Last year I was in a rut. In my mid-twenties I was charging ahead with my career, led as most of us are by the quest for a big fat pay cheque, and a misplaced belief that this will bring happiness. That’s when I met Neil Christiansen, the founder of Give & Surf. He was in the beginning stages of setting up a volunteer project in Panama where people could come out surf, and then give back by helping in the local community.
I’ve surfed in Indonesia, Bali, and El Salvador, following the waves, but Panama is the place that will always stick with me. The variety of the waves is where the beauty lies, but it’s also the addition of being able to come out of the ocean and make an impact on peoples lives that made this the trip an experience I hope to repeat year after year.
Kids will be kids.
I went with my girlfriend in the winter of 2011, waking up each day to frying plantains, and choosing my own coconut for breakfast. We would pick the local kids up in the boat from their huts amongst the mangroves. None of them had shoes, and most had hardly any clothes to cover their backs, but do you know what? They were happy. It was a shock to the system.
We spent the morning teaching English and Spanish before heading outside to coach them at soccer and baseball. In the afternoons we surfed, hiked in the jungle, relaxed on the beach and simply took in the beauty of this Caribbean heaven.
This trip was the best of both worlds. I met people from all over the world including the Netherlands and Brazil, children who touched my heart, and waves that blew my mind. It was fun to give back, to be part of a bigger picture, learn a new culture and realize that it’s not all about the money, it’s about life and how you choose to life it.
Dan Ferraro – avid surfer, beginner volunteer
Find out more about this project: HERE
More about Give & Surf:
Give and Surf is a volunteer organization empowering the community of Bahia Honda through community and educational development. They are dedicated to several educational, environmental, and community development projects to help the indigenous Ngobe people of Bahia Honda. The educational projects include enriching educational projects for the local school ages 6-12 (after-school program, summer camp), a year round pre-school for approximately 20 children ages 3-5, English classes for the adults and Bahia Honda baseball team. This is a unique volunteer experience that gives volunteers the opportunity to give to others and learn how to surf or enjoy various activities unique to Bocas. These activities include surf lessons, snorkeling, jungle/cave hikes and tours, exploring the beautiful beaches and islands, zip lining, kayaking, and more. Experience life on the water as all transportation to volunteer sites, surfing, beaches, and activities are done by boat in and around the islands. For the adventure seeker who wants to experience living in a remote jungle and beach location. Improve or begin your Spanish learning with the children and community members of Bahia Honda.
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