Adaptive Recreation and Wilderness School youth hit the waves

This trip was the first if its kind at Power To Be. It was the first time Wilderness School and Adaptive Recreation youth came together for an over-night surf adventure.  Sylvia Storry, Wilderness School community development coordinator, acknowledges this unique opportunity to showcase Wilderness School youth’s development. 

“This weekend allowed them to pay it forward and teach skills to younger less experienced youth,” Sylvia says. “It was absolutely inspiring to see a group of third year Wilderness School participants mentor a group of younger youth, the majority of whom were experiencing their first camping experience.”




After a night of pumpkin carving and campfire stories, the morning leading up to surf was pristine. The air was damp and fresh from the previous day’s rain, the smell of campfire lingered on clothes, and the sky was a deep blue that reflected in the puddles spanning the entire length of the beach. Everyone chatted at breakfast; a change from the quiet dinner we’d had the night before. It amazed me how just one night spent together outdoors brought so many people closer together.




After breakfast, we packed up camp and headed to North Chesterman Beach. Everyone piled in the vans and vibrated with excitement. When we met Pacific Surf School, our first task was to squeeze every inch of ourselves into a soggy, and much too tight, wetsuit. The change rooms roared with laughter as we all fell against the cold concrete trying to manoeuvre our limbs to fit. Finally, we all emerged, grabbed our boards and hit the beach.




I stood back and watched everyone barrel into the water; arms flailed, feet flapped, and pure, child-like joy radiated. After greeting the ocean, everyone returned to the beach to get the scoop on surfing. We used our fingers to carve pretend boards into the sand and followed our instructors through a warm up to prepare us for the water. When our dry-land skills proved we were ready, we grabbed our boards and set out to conquer the waves.




I have never felt such a sense of camaraderie as I did on the beach that Sunday. The beach echoed with chants as people caught their first wave, and then hysterical laughter as we all got barrelled over. With each attempt came another. Our heads bobbed in the ripples of the water – smiling, together, and wet.




The trip itself was magical. I was inspired by the transformation in the youth after just one weekend away. On the drive home, I saw confident and proud individuals who were eager to share stories with their peers. I didn’t want to get out of the van when we arrived back in Victoria. Such a sense of comfort, adventure and discovery lived in that vehicle. 


– Story shared by Cianna Lyon, public engagement specialist