In this technological world where we are getting more and
more separated from each other and nature, it is even more vital for our minds
and bodies to connect in nature within a community of others. I think this is why we are seeing more and
more retreats, camps, and outfitters with an eco-tourism and personal
For the past 13 years I’ve had the privilege of running an
all girls surf camp every summer, as well as a year around surf school for
girls and guys. We’ve had hundreds of teen
girls attend from around the world at our little oceanfront cabin facility on
Maui’s west shore. There’s been one
common thread through the years — girls really thrive in and out of the ocean
when they are surrounded by other girls and female mentors. They are thirsty for self expression, self
reflection, and self confidence. Peer
and mentor acceptance are also vital in developing their strengths and unique
qualities. Especially in this crucial
window of a girls self-esteem development, their teen years can be a brutal
coming of age time where bullying at school and on social media sites are more
and more common place. Having a safe
refuge away from facebook, parental pressures, boyfriends, temptations with
drugs and alcohol…sometimes summer camp is the only place a girl can develop
their strengths and sense of self in a non threatening environment.
For parents of a teen girl, here’s a few of my coaching tips
for building a competent and confident surfer girl in and out of the water.
1. Develop her passion – whether it be surfing, a
hobby or academic subject, having a healthy outlet when she’s got boy problems,
hormonal shifts, peer pressure, or stress, it’s vital to do what she loves. Having something to focus on that brings joy
into her life can defeat depression and low self- esteem. Becoming good at something she loves is the
building blocks to confidence that brings more and more happiness and
opportunities for success into her life.
Even participate in her passion or hobby to show her you care for what
she’s interested in.
2. Encourage time spent in nature – Any time a girl
can unplug from her iphone, tv, computer, is valuable time connecting with her
true self and feelings. It’s like
pushing the reset button on your computer.
It refreshes her to make solid decisions based on what her gut is saying
and not what someone else wants for her.
Developing a sense of inner peace through time spent alone in nature is a valuable tool to her success. Surfing
is the perfect way to do this.
3. Teach and model a healthy lifestyle, especially
eating healthy. To be successful at
surfing or any activity, a girl must fuel her body properly. Our meals at our surf camp are the perfect
fuel to our active days: fresh mangos,
oatmeal, salads and sandwiches, quinoa and vegetables, burrito bar, Hawaiian
food at our luau, among other healthful meals.
open communication with your teen girl.
You don’t have to be her best friend and have her divulge her secrets to
you, but make sure you are available frequently to listen and connect with her authentically. Despite her wanting to
push you out of her life, give her lots of hugs and express that you are here
for her no matter what. Unconditional
love & a present parent can go a long way for a teen girl’s development.
I’m not a parent of a teen girl, but a mentor of many. I’ve seen
through the years that these tools above have been helpful with my own journey
coming of age. When I was a teenager
into young adulthood, I struggled with low self esteem and depression. If I didn’t have my surfboard and varsity
sports growing up, I would’ve been miserable.
Even growing up on the beautiful beaches of Maui, seemed to feel dulled
by my depression. There is something very
invigorating, and biochemically uplifting to our brains and psyche’s when we
spend time being active in nature, especially the cleansing power of the
ocean. It’s been my life mission to
share the gift of surfing and our active Maui lifestyles with future
generations of teen girls at our surf camps as well as families, couples, guys and
girls of all walks of life at our surf school.
Sometimes just one two hour surf lesson can plant a seed of confidence
& invigoration to become more active in nature in ones daily life back
So what are you waiting for?
Let’s get our teen girls active by sending her to our surf camp or
signing up for a surf lesson while you’re in Maui!