Posted by In Nica Now
Half a dozen years ago Kelly Kingston attempted to sell one of her used surfboards on Craigslist. With no serious offers Kelly decided she’d prefer to give her surfboard away to a deserving kid, rather than sell it for less than it was worth. Kelly changed her ad to read “free to a kid who sends me an email explaining why they deserve to have my surfboard”.
We all learn from our experiences, but sometimes an experience can change our path in life.
As expected Kelly was bombarded with emails. But what Kelly didn’t expect was the genuine level of need within her community. This experience helped Kelly realize that she wanted to help kids in her community stay off the streets and in the water and with that Share the Stoke Foundation was born.
A year after giving away her 1st board Kelly and her partner Neily were in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua enjoying a surf vacation. My friend Cory took the girls out surfing and they updated him on what was currently happening with Share the Stoke. They had spent the last year raising money, begging for donated boards and giving those boards away to kids in Florida. It didn’t take this trio long to come to the realization that Florida was not the only place with kids in need and at a crossroad in their young lives. With Cory’s help Kelly and Neily were able to find a deserving, up & coming surfer who would receive the first board in Nicaragua. Share the Stoke had gone international!
Fast forward a few years, 5 countries and 74 boards …
Kelly is back in San Juan del Sur with 6 of her friends sponsoring the 1st Annual “With A Little Stoke From My Friends” San Juan del Sur Youth Weekend. This is where I enter the story as an enthusiastic volunteer that ironically can’t surf and truthfully can barely swim.
The goal of this weekend was to ensure that all kids in the community could benefit from this event. In order to participate in the weekend activities the kids were required to help in the beach cleanup – we removed 260 pounds of garbage in just a few hours. Other scheduled activities included a fishing trip, beach volleyball and swim and surf lessons – all culminating into a youth surf tournament. Firewire surfboards were awarded as prizes to the top surfers in each age group.
Share the Stoke Foundation has been working very hard to increase the number of boards it provides to deserving kids each year. They have also been working very hard to find a board sponsor and luckily they’ve finally found one. Firewire has stepped up to the plate in a huge way by committing to donating 100 new boards in 2013, 200 new boards in 2014 and 300 shiny new boards in 2015! Now that Share the Stoke has the product, it’s time to focus on fundraising so they can distribute these boards to the children that deserve them.
Stay tuned for my follow up post that will describe how YOU can help! As a heads up I won’t be asking you to donate money – I’ll actually be asking you to do something that takes less time and effort than tying your shoes and costs absolutely nothing.
Your participation could result in Share the Stoke being awarded up to $250, 000 of grant money.
My post will be published on September 6th and will also include detailed stories and more awesome photos of the activities that took place this past weekend! (Photo credit for all event images goes to Nicole Williams.)
Please check out the official Share the Stoke site and help spread the word about this great organization by liking them on Facebook. Share the Stoke Foundation and I are counting on you to help make a difference in the lives of some really amazing kids!
Kudos to Share the Stoke Foundation and the volunteers that made this past weekend all possible! I’d also like to thank the team for allowing me to share in this very special event that had such a positive impact on so many children in my community.
Posted in Sights & Activities
Tags: 1st Annual San Juan del Sur Youth Weekend, beach clean up, Cory Dwyer, Firewire Surfboards, Hermosa Beach, Kelly Kingston, kids in need, Nicaragua, raising money, San Juan del Sur, san juan del sur nicaragua, Share the Stoke Foundation, surfboard give-aways, surfing, travel, vacation, youth surf tournament