Surfrider Pacific Rim has teamed up with Arc’teryx to develop and digitize the Youth Environmental Stewardship (YES) Program for teens across British Columbia, Canada and beyond.
The outdoor clothing company recently dropped a cool $15,000 donation on the environmental non-profit, which they will use to create a hub of free online resources to support both teacher-led YES curriculum and student-led Surfrider youth clubs.
Arc’teryx ambassador and Canadian surf legend Pete Devries said the company was the one that originally approached him with the desire to support an ocean-based initiative.
“Surfrider is all about the beach and the ocean and honestly they do a ton in the community and I just thought it was the perfect fit to try and help support that,” said Devries.
Surfrider youth lead Alys Hoyland is eager to dive into the project pronto. On Nov. 13, local Surfrider crew are set to gather with like-minded students from the University of Victoria and the UBC Surf Club to help shape the Ocean-Friendly Schools curriculum.
“It’s going to be youth-led so it needs to be designed by youth,” said Hoyland.
“The idea ties in with the other ocean-friendly initiatives that we have going on like the business and ocean-friendly corridor. We’ve done a lot of work with the business community. The YES Program for now has been really centered on work with Maaqtusiis and Ucluelet Secondary. The idea of the ocean-friendly schools program would be to design something that is applicable anywhere in B.C.,” she said.
YES Program materials will encompass downloadable lesson plans, videos, and an Ocean Friendly Schools toolkit designed to support youth environmental stewards to take action in their communities.
Devries, who joined Arc’teryx as an ambassador in March 2020, said he’s enjoying the collaborative involvement and community support he’s getting from the company.
“It’s something you don’t see with a lot of say surf brands. Their whole mantra right now is getting people outside and enjoying the things they love and trying take care of what we love as well,” said Devries, adding that while they don’t make wetsuits (yet) they make outerwear designed for coastal climates.
He went on to highlight a new Arc’teryx circularity program called ‘ReBird’ that involves tackling waste issues by upcycling, resale, and care and repair.
“Like Surfrider’s Wetsuit Reincarnation program, instead of getting rid of old gear they are recycling it and remaking it into a different product. All of it is just a great fit for them and for Surfrider. Hopefully it’s a partnership that can continue whether I’m involved or not,” said Devries.
The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust also awarded Surfrider with a $5,000 grant to help with the YES Program. If you’re an educator interested in delivering this program with your class, or would like information about setting up a Surfrider Youth Club at your school, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
RELATED: Tofino-Ucluelet Surfrider Youth Club receives Wavemaker Award
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