“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”
These words not only mark the opening of the Surf Therapy workshop hosted in Cape Town this week, they reflect where the Surf Therapy movement is at currently – a number of organisations from across the globe, who independently have ‘gone fast’ and have achieved incredible work in an extremely short space of time. But now it’s time to ‘go far,’ with the key takeaway from day one reaffirming that in order to achieve this, and promote the unique power of Surf Therapy, we MUST ‘go together.’
The day kicked off with an icebreaker to introduce the participating programmes that include: The Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation (JMMF), The Wave Project, Waves for Wellness, A Walk on Water, Kind Surf, Surfers Healing, Wave by Wave and Waves for Change; representatives from SIMA and UNICEF, and researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the University of New South Wales. Participants shared the inspiration and impact of their respective programmes.
“From personal experience I can say that Surf Therapy is life-saving,” John Pike, the Director of Development and Fundraising for Surfers Healing, commented within the first minutes of the day.
What immediately became apparent is the great belief everyone in the room has in the impact of Surf Therapy.
“Coming together with these organisations is a dream come true” stated Dr. Carly Rogers from JMMF.
After discussing the hopes and expectations for the four-days ahead, the room split in to breakout groups to address key questions related to programme inputs. Each team discussed at length key areas including: community outreach, access to the ocean, safety, mentors/volunteers, activities/attendance, psychosocial support, mentor support and long-term membership. It was exciting to learn all the creative ways Surf Therapy is used to reach target beneficiaries. Idea exchange flowed and already a number of valuable insights have been shared that will help develop and improve existing programmes.
The day closed with a special guest, Wallace J Nichols conferencing in to share his expertise on the power of the ocean, and to answer the group’s questions. Nichols’ words were inspirational as he assured the room that what they were doing was ‘world changing, overdue and desperately needed.’ He urged the team to ‘swim through the walls that have been holding them back in past’ and to ‘share what they know openly’ – reaffirming that collaboration truly is the way forward. The group dispersed from the day charged with inspired thought and insightful conversation; ready to explore further during day two…