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

Catalyst Paper to sell U.S. mills to Chinese company

Sale will allow company to focus on B.C. interests, says president Ned Dwyer

Alberni university zeroes in on disability and poverty

BY MIKE YOUDS SPECIAL TO THE NEWS The road to poverty can… Continue reading

Celebrate cycling in Port Alberni during Bike to Work and School Week

Numerous ‘celebration stations’ are planned for May 28 to June 2

Ahousaht welcomes massive Surfrider Canada conference to Meares Island near Tofino

“It was the first time we’ve all come together.”

Alberni RCMP kept busy with 170 calls over May long weekend

Detachment answers calls from fatal vehicle crash to man with a gun, trailer thefts

Black Press Media to launch Pipeline Full of Controversy series

Series covers Trans Mountain’s history, science, Indigenous reaction, politics and economics

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

B.C. jewellers warn public about fake gold scam

‘They are playing on people’s sympathy and their greed’

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Hunt continues for two suspects in Ontario restaurant explosion

The explosion left 15 people injured, but all victims have now been released from hospital

B.C. teacher charged with sexual offences involving two teens

Henry Kang, 50, of Abbotsford charged with two counts each sex assault and sexual exploitation

Toronto Raptors star to hold basketball camp in B.C.

DeMar DeRozan is hosting a four-day camp for players aged 6-16 at the University of Victoria

Most Read