Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ocean Inspirations

The great thing about being connected to the tight-knit surfing community in San Diego is I meet a lot of amazing and inspiring people. I was recently introduced to Craig McClain and Joe Sigurdson, who run a fantastic nonprofit called Boys to Men Mentoring Network, which provides critical guidance to fatherless teenage boys. When they asked me to help them promote their annual fundraiser, the 100 Wave Challenge, I jumped at the chance. After all, isn't this what responsible journalism and PR are all about?

Fifteen-year-old Lewis Castrejon doesn’t know how to surf, but he is learning how so he can participate in the Fourth Annual 100 Wave Challenge for Boys to Men to raise money for the organization that he says changed his life.  Castrejon is one of 14 boys mentored by Boys to Men who will be surfing in this year’s 100 Wave Challenge. These young men will be sponsored by “Surf Angels,” a new addition to the annual event.

The surf-a-thon, scheduled  for September 21, 2013 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Mission Beach, Calif., will include about 150 surfers who will attempt to ride 100 waves each in 12 hours. The goal for each surfer is to raise $1,000. All proceeds will go toward the San Diego-based non profit Boys to Men Mentoring Network, which is dedicated to mentoring fatherless teenage boys throughout the county. The goal for the 2013 100 Wave Challenge is $150,000, up from $110,000 in 2012
“Since being a part of Boys to Men my entire way of thinking has changed,” Castrejon said. “I am no longer that angry teenager who hurts other kids and mouths off all the time. I tolerate people better and treat them with the same kindness I know I want them to treat me with. Boys to Men has given me much more than a place of safety; they have given me a place of healing. When I go to the meetings I don't just see friends;  I see fathers, brothers and uncles I can trust.”

Visit Castrejon’s 100 Wave Challeneg web site here.

Boys to Men is also recruiting independent Surf Angels (non surfers) to create their own web page to help raise funds for the boys surfing in the event. One of them is Tammy Parry, a family therapist who has been involved with the organization for more than 18 years. So far, Parry has raised more than $3,700 for this year’s 100 Wave Challenge.

“In my practice, I have seen the devastation of children's lives due to lack of male (mentors) in our society,” she said. “Boys to Men has developed an amazing program that gives young men what they need to become good men.”
The main purpose of the new Surf Angels program is to give non-surfers a chance to participate in the 100 Wave Challenge.  To become a Surf Angel click here.

“The surf angels are not only raising funds to support our boys to surf in the event;  they are also investing in the future of these young men,” said Boys to Men cofounder and executive director Craig McClain.
Launched in San Diego in 1996, Boys to Men has become a thriving international organization, with chapters in 32 cities around the world. More than 6,000 teenage boys have been mentored through the organization since its inception.

The annual 100 Wave Challenge accounts for 60 percent of the Boys to Men’s annual budget, which has doubled since the first surf-a-thon event. The organization’s 2013 budget is $250,000.
“One of the great things about the 100 Wave Challenge is it promotes what we are doing to a  specific target audience of mentors that we otherwise wouldn’t reach,” said Joe Sigurdson, cofounder and community development director for Boys to Men. “This gives them a chance to blend their passion for surfing with helping the boys. We have recruited some great mentors from guys who have surfed with us, and then decided they wanted to become a mentor.”

While Boys to Men mentors boys ages 12 to 17, it has refocused its efforts on middle school- boys.  Boys are mentored all year through various programs, meetings and events, including the organization’s after school weekly mentoring program, in which dedicated mentors show up at middle schools, high schools and foster care facilities to give teenage boys a community of mentors who listen, encourage and believe in them.
Consider these facts:
* Since 1960, the number of American children without fathers in their lives has quadrupled, from 6 million to more than 24 million.

* Children without fathers in their lives are nine times more likely to drop out of school, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.

*5% of the adult male population is in or has been in prison, costing taxpayers $75 billion a year.

* It costs $500 to give one boy a year in Boys to Men. It costs $47,102 a year to incarcerate one inmate in California.

“These boys come in to Boys to Men with a lot of intrepidation and questions, and not a whole lot of faith and zero trust,” Sigurdson said. “After they become involved with Boys to Men, they start feeling safe. These boys are unburdening their souls; when they do that is has a compounding effect and it frees them.  Their grades and school attendance go up and their discipline problems go down. They can start redirecting their lives. They have role models who help them become the good men they all want to become.”

For more information about the 100 Wave Challenge please visit
Check out the video:

Video for the Secret Life of Teenage Boys:

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