Surf Dreams Club
This club at South Brunswick High School teaches kids about the transformative power of surfing as well as community service.
For students at South Brunswick High School, dreams can be made out of anything. Sophia Ordonez’s dreams were made of salt water and surfboards. The surfing teen created the Surf Dreams Club last year with the help of her mother, Jennifer Ordonez, who is the school’s social worker. Sophia got the idea of starting the club after volunteering with the Surf Dreams Foundation in Myrtle Beach, a nonprofit that provides free surf lessons and awards for kids who have the desire to surf but can’t afford it. They put on a community outreach event called Take A Kid Surfing Day featuring free surf lessons, a significant program that the club has managed to re-create at Oak Island.
In addition to their annual Take A Kid Surfing Day, Surf Dreams Club provides several opportunities for kids to get involved with the community, including beach clean-ups and various fundraisers to raise money for Surf Dreams Foundation.
“The focus is on community service rather than having to be a surfer to join,” Jennifer says. “I really want them to see the concept of community service and giving back to their community.”
Last year the club raised $1,000 through a surfboard raffle, volunteering at the Oak Island Run and a t-shirt sale. This year the club was able to increase their fundraising to $1,300. Surf Dreams Foundation uses the money to get kids surf equipment, enter competitions and go on an annual trip to Puerto Rico as well as provide scholarships.
The foundation offered a $1,000 scholarship to a graduating senior at South Brunswick High School this year. They presented the scholarship at the school’s Senior Night last month. While the club is made up of 9th through 12th graders at the high school, they also engage with middle schoolers at South Brunswick Middle School. They also reach out to elementary school students. Last year members created an ocean safety curriculum for fourth graders at Southport Elementary School, and this year they presented the curriculum to fifth graders at Bolivia Elementary School, in order to get the word out about ocean safety.
“It’s nice to reach out and get the interest of some of the younger kids when there are opportunities for them,” Jennifer says.
Although she stresses that the main focus of Surf Dreams Club is the community service aspect, she does hope it encourages more kids to surf too.
“We have a really small group of surfers in our area, and I’d love to see that grow and have them realize that they have the opportunity to surf here,” she says. “Surfing is an awesome sport, and once they have the equipment it’s free.”
She hopes this can be achieved through exposure of the various activities the club’s members are involved in, including Surf Dreams Foundation, Take A Kid Surfing Day and other programs they’ve had the opportunities to partner with, like Hands Across the Sand.
As for the future of the club, Jennifer and Sophia will continue to get members involved with the community and get more kids surfing. “We have kids who are very passionate about the beach and maybe they don’t surf but I still want them to be a part of what we do,” Jennifer says.