As we prepare for our 2016 summer surf camps, and having just celebrated 15 years of Maui Surfer Girls, we wanted to check in on some of the girls (now women!) who have attended our teen camp, and see what amazing things they are up to now! This is a new blog post series of ‘Alumnae Stories’ – if you would like to be featured, please email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org
In our inaugural post, we feature Kit Ramgopal and Mia Sullivan, two east coast teens turned into Surfer Girls.
Our first story is from Kit Ramgopal, an eighteen-year-old from Southampton, New York, and a current freshman at Stanford University, where she is studying International Relations and Arabic. Kit was a camper at Maui Surfer Girls for five years and worked as a CIT for her sixth year.
At age eleven, I flew solo to Hawaii to, quite literally, test the waters. Six years of camp later, I am unalterably a Maui Surfer Girl; I believe in cliff jumping, in long-boarding overhead waves, and that quinoa deserves its own food group.
More than anything, I believe in Maui No Ka ‘Oi. I believe in the “girl power” of surfing, and that the ocean is both humbling and empowering. I believe in the healing power of waterfalls and avocado groves. I believe in the kindness of other women. I have woven the richest circle of friendships at MSG, picking threads, plucky and weathered, everywhere from Texas to Taiwan.
I was always the camp’s baby, little “Kitty” with the potato chip board. Six years later, I’m still small in stature, but I am not looked upon as such. Younger girls blush when I complement them and are eager to ask what it’s like to surf Ho’okipa and what shampoo I use. Mentoring 24 hours a day was both challenging and enriching; girls opened up to me in ways I couldn’t have anticipated, provoking me to come into my own as a leader.
Having worked as an counselor, I believe in myself, in my physical strength and my ability to set an example for younger girls. I am the quintessential MSG success story, an awkward preteen turned spirited hurricane, having absorbed a certain salty strength into my soul.
Besides MSG, Kit’s work experience has included surf instructing on Long Island, working as a legal intern with a human rights NGO in Sri Lanka, writing for the “Stanford Daily” sports section, and interning as an investigative journalist for National Geographic. She is an avid writer, soccer player, skier, and hiker. Last spring, she trekked to Everest Base Camp with Rainier Mountaineering and is hoping to continue rock-climbing and mountaineering throughout college.
Mia Sullivan hails from the suburbs of northern New Jersey. Mia is currently working as an editorial content producer at a publishing company in San Francisco.
Growing up in New Jersey as a surfer and nature lover, I had a hunch that Hawaii would be a particularly magical place for me; so I begged my parents to send me to surf camp on Maui and, somehow, it worked! From the moment opening circle commenced, I could tell that the females involved with Maui Surfer Girls – Dustin, Celine Adair, Kara Miller, etc. – were women I wanted to be like: confident, emotionally intelligent, empowered ladies who know how to have fun and build a community in a sincere, inclusive way.
I’ve attended two Maui Surfer Girls camps, worked as a counselor-in-training, and came back to the island for MSG’s 10-year anniversary surfing and camping party. The waves have always been magical and, in my book, you can’t really beat surfing fun, rolling waves for several hours a day in tropical water. But, beyond this, the women I’ve met through MSG have been a constant source of love and inspiration over the past 12 years.
Inspired by her love for surfing, mountains, and all things outdoors, Mia attended school at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. In addition to surfing, she likes to spend her play time writing, hiking, running, snowboarding, and doing yoga. Mia is especially excited about her upcoming surfing safari to South Africa and Namibia!
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