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)

surfingSurfriderTofino,Ucuelet Secondary SchoolYouth Club

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ladysmith fabric designer donates her time to make free face masks and gowns

Nikki MacCallum works three days a week on masks and gowns, and three days on her regular business

LDCU offers no interest loans for members in need

Existing members can borrow up to $5,000 interest free

Sweet treat helps make Chemainus Health Care Centre workers feel complete

Girl Guide cookies always in good taste when showing appreciation

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

Ongoing list of Ladysmith COVID-19 cancellations and closures

Everything in Ladysmith that has been impacted by COVID-19

World COVID-19 update: NATO suspicious of Russian military drills; Cruise ships ordered to stay at sea

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world for Wednesday, April 1

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Most Read