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

VIDEO: North Island Peewee Eagles unleash avalanche of goals against Peninsula in semi-final showdown

The two teams squared up on Sunday morning at the Chilton Regional Arena in Port McNeill.

North Island Seniors Housing Foundation takes the next step towards getting Trustee Road land

Seniors rejoice, Port Hardy council is very much in favour of helping… Continue reading

Port Hardy Volleyball club requests funding from Port Hardy council

The sport of Volleyball is alive and well in the North Island,… Continue reading

Should aquaculture programs be offered at North Island College in Port Hardy?

“I think it would be very timely to have an aquaculture program”

Island Health issues press release regarding Port Alice Health Centre service changes

Island Health will be hosting a community meeting in Port Alice Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. in the rec centre.

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

Bomb threats, shootings, a kidnapping: Drug war rocks Kamloops

Kamloops RCMP battles a series of violent events

B.C. hotel trashes Channing Tatum in favour of Ryan Reynolds

Tatum’s picture left in recycling bin, replaced with photo of Ryan Reynolds

B.C. firefighters rescue bear cub stuck up a tree

Family Day was eventful for cub, firefighters

Three Island First Nations chiefs take government to court in health care dispute

Move comes after First Nations Health Authority dumps Vancouver Island service provider

Okanagan ski resort officials displeased with Family Day roll-out

From one peak of the Okanagan to the other, resort officials have raised concerns

Island fossil makes it to the top of the provincial list

Courtenay’s elasmosaur will be added to the official Provincial Symbols of British Columbia

B.C. high school robotics team ranked first in the world for programming

The Surrey team was also named tournament finalists at VEX Robotics Competition on Feb. 1

Man shot dead in front of Kamloops hotel may be case of mistaken identity: RCMP

Rex Gill, 44, was not previously known to Kamloops police unlike second shooting victim

Most Read