Our kids are strong and courageous; they have endured challenges and encountered obstacles the average person will never see in his or her entire lifetime. They’ve suffered setbacks, and have sometimes found themselves “on the wrong side of the tracks” headed in the wrong direction. Yet they have survived. They have the resilience and power to overcome hardships, redirect their lives, and most of all they have spirit.

We call our youth “Champions in Training”.  Despite their challenges and hardships, their spirits shine through. We believe in their inherent ability to make positive changes in their lives when connected to good role models and involved in positive and culturally and environmentally aligned activities.

We are culturally aligned and utilize ocean-based experiential activities to teach youth new skills.  

SSS is cool, they let me surf my troubles away.  Surfing is just like life, you gotta ride the waves, and learn from your mistakes when you wipe out. - Anonymous Program Youth

Dealing with some of the “toughest” kids

The wounds and challenges of these youths run deep. For them, other youth programs are often no sufficient or effective. Our core focus is serving youth aged 10-18 years who are directed to our programs by Hawai‘i Family Court judges from Hawai‘i Girls Court, Hawai‘i Juvenile Drug Court, youth referred by youth serving programs, residential programs, case workers, school counselors or parents. If some of these youth do not make serious changes, they stand in danger of ending up with criminal records and entering the adult prison system within 12-24 months.

Many teens involved in our programs are from economically depressed or rural communities and have suffered from marginalization due to poverty.  Many have struggled with discrimination, sexual identity issues, learning disabilities, multiple foster home placements, family histories of drug addiction or mental illness, neglect, domestic violence and sexual abuse.  They exhibit risky behaviors including runaway, truancy, minor theft, property damage, substance abuse, and assault. Others have had multiple encounters with the juvenile justice system and some have been confined at the Youth Detention Home or Hawai‘i Youth Correctional Facility (HYCF). All risk being lost in the system and never reaching their full potential.  We create a safety-net of resiliency factors, resources and support that they would not have otherwise.

The Solution

Over the past 12 years. Surfrider Spirit Sessions has served over 700 boys and girls through our eight-week Spirit Sessions.

Our youth come from a diverse socio-economic population and ethnic backgrounds, with 50% of youth of part Hawaiian descent. Hawaiian cultural mini-lessons provide all youth with a sense of pride in their host culture and a positive sense of place.

Spirit Sessions provides youth intensive attention and extensive resources to help them make positive changes in their lives. We provide teens with a nurturing and supportive community of caring adults and peers to improve their pro-socialization and psychological well-being and to help them make healthy and productive choices to become productive citizens.

Life is full of rough waves and I need to go through them to make the right choices. - Logan

Today’s spirit theme means to leave the negativity behind. I want to change my bad habits.- Emily

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When I go surfing, I can just have fun and forget about everything.
The ocean is my healing place.-

Today’s theme taught me that you just gotta accept the outcomes of your decisions. I had bad habits before, but I’m working on myself. How can I work on myself more? - Alex

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