Surfs up! This was not your typical Sunday at Backyard Sports. For the first time ever, we ventured to Spring Lake, NJ for a day of surfing with nine deserving residents from the Youth Shelter Program of Westchester. Welcomed by Danny Mishkin of Sababa Beach Camps and a group of incredible young instructors from Hammer Surf School, we spent several hours surfing, eating, playing and discussing the powerful lessons we can all take away from a day on the water.
“I am a terrible surfer. I wish I was better, but I love it” said Mishkin, “I fall so many times, but it just reminds me that failing is growing. You are going to get knocked back, but if you want to get out there and enjoy the ride, you have to paddle through failure.”
There were certainly some butterflies throughout the group, but we started paddling and when the first wave hit us, it was nothing but excitement. Although some of the Youth Shelter residents were not strong swimmers, they were all able to overcome their fears and encourage each other as, one by one with the help of the instructors, they began to stand up on their boards. It was hard to believe it was our first time, as several young men were even able to pop up and ride multiple waves all the way back to shore.
At Sababa Beach Camps, it is all about the journey. “Sababa” is a Hebrew slang term meaning cool, chilled or no problems, like the famous words “Hakuna Matata,” meaning no worries. For these young men awaiting disposition of various criminal charges, it is paramount that they have opportunities to put their troubles aside for a day and move forward with positive, new experiences as part of the better lives they are working so hard for.
The Youth Shelter of Westchester is under new leadership and we were thrilled to welcome Executive Director Joanne Dunn and Program Director Jordan Cormier along on this adventure, along with several other amazing Youth Shelter staff. It was moving to see how they encouraged and shared excitement for these young men. To top it all off, we ended the day with a large family style meal at a beautiful restaurant on the beach. We could not ask for a better day at Backyard Sports!