Here at Surf South West we love it when schools come and visit us. We’re lucky enough to have regular visits from many schools in our area but last month was especially exciting. The reason for this was that just under 200 students from Colston’s School, Bristol came to visit us for a busy few days of surf lessons, activities and beach clean adventures.
The trip was the brainchild of Colston’s teachers, Karen Bark and George Clark who came up with the idea of combining their Eco Club beach clean projects with some surfing for their Year 8 and 9 ‘Activities Week’ here in North Devon.
The Colston’s School Eco Club was created to help more students get involved with environmental projects. With so much in the media about global warming and environmental concerns, Karen realised that increasing numbers of students across schools nationally were suffering from high levels of anxiety about the situation.
At the core of this anxiety was a feeling of overwhelming powerlessness. Karen wanted to try and help prevent this eco-anxiety in Colston’s students by giving them the opportunity to make a positive change to the environment. A mini beach clean at Weston-Super-Mare early on in the year seemed to give pupils a sense of achievement. This alleviated stress because the students realised they could actually do something to change the situation.
Knowing the benefits of ocean therapy, Maths teacher George, AKA Colston’s Captain Surfing, has always been keen to include surfing in the school’s ‘Activities Week’. The week is organised for Yr 7-10’s after their exams and enables them to blow off some steam and de-stress. George, who we’ve welcomed here to Surf South West on many occasions, knew just what a motivational experience a surfing trip to Croyde could be for his students.
George and Karen decided to combine their efforts and organised for the entire Year 8 and Year 9 to come visit North Devon. The groups combined some much needed ocean therapy and surfing sessions with us, alongside beach Olympic sports activities and some marathon beach cleans. Each year group collected well over 8kg of rubbish off Croyde Beach and were truly amazing! Also included in the fun were some great talks by Parkdean’s Beach Rangers about micro plastics and ocean health.
As George says, “It’s so great for our students to get into the sea and to be in Nature. The whole experience has enabled them to build confidence and feel more optimistic about their future and that of their planet. The trip has also seen them create better relationships with staff and with each other. Most importantly, this trip has just let them relax and have some really good fun.”
George continues, “I’ve used Surf South West for quite a few school trips now. I can’t thank you guys enough. You are all really professional, accommodating and truly get the kids up for the adventure of it all. We look forward to returning.”
Thank you Colston’s, we think is so inspiring what you are doing and we’re grateful to be a part of it all. We can’t wait for you all to visit on your next eco surfing activity week.