Weave Women and Children’s Centre identified a need to give children, whose mum’s they are supporting, opportunities to access recreational activities that allow them to have fun and just be kids.
Weave applied for a small grant to run a surfing day for 12 kids from Waterloo.
The kids were taken on a bus to Bondi Beach, where they were introduced to surf instructors, given learner surfboards, wetsuits and zinc, and participated in a 90-minute intensive surfing lesson with Let’s Go Surfing.
During the lesson, the kids were taught how to paddle, catch waves and stand up on a surfboard. Afterwards, they were treated to a healthy “surfer’s lunch”, followed by games and a walk to two rock pools at North Bondi.
Melissa Leaudais, Women and Children’s Case Worker for Weave, said surfing was the chosen activity because of its many benefits.
“There is something about being in the saltwater. It’s the best therapy ever and kids really thrive in it,” she said.
“Once you get your surfboard and your wetsuit, surfing’s free and surfing can be available to anybody.
“If you can get yourself to the beach, it actually provides such a beautiful lifestyle and a healthy lifestyle.”
The highlight of the day was seeing all the kids surfing, Ms Leaudais said.
“All of our kids stood up on the day. All of the kids actually rode white water waves,” she said.
“There was a little bit of fear there, and the kids that did have that fear, they were able to overcome that and they found their confidence and they were so resilient in the water and having a go at surfing.”
Another bonus was seeing new friendships formed.
“Seeing these kids, who may sometimes struggle with social settings and to make friendships and to keep friendships, on this day, the kids were just being kids; there was no judgement,” Ms Leaudais said.
“It was so beautiful just to watch this group come together and have fun and try something new.”
This was just a one-day program, but Weave will run an intensive two-day program follow up in the September-October school holidays.
“That will reconnect our group back and bring them back to surfing and hopefully provide that opportunity to get in the water, get outdoors in nature and make some new friendships and try something different,” Ms Leaudais said.
“If there’s anyone who wants to help support us to have ongoing funding to be able to do this again, we would welcome that.”