Senator Henry Stern Hosts Surf Summit to Build Bridges Between Inland and Coastal Communities
MALIBU - At least a hundred kids from across Los Angeles County spent the day surfing, learning about the ocean environment and engaging with their state representatives in a whole new way at State Senator Henry Stern's Inaugural Surf Summit.
The event was the brainchild of Senator Stern who engaged the Children’s Lifesaving Foundation and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Malibu, West San Gabriel Valley, West Valley, and Variety Boys & Girls Club to participate and shuttle their members out to Zuma Beach for the summit.
"When these kids are in the water, it doesn't matter where they are from," said State Senator Henry Stern. "They are all just kids, surfing. All of LA ought to be able to reach the beach. Today some of our best lifeguards and surfers helped 100 groms from all walks life become legends."
Another big supporter of Senator Stern’s vision was Senate President Pro-Tem Kevin de León of Los Angeles. The Senate Pro-Tem came out to the summit for a few hours on Sunday morning to address the crowd and try his hand at surfing; "I know first hand what it's like to grow up miles from the ocean but not able to access it,” said De León. “This event is about breaking down barriers and communities surfing together; I applaud Senator Stern on his vision and look forward to next year’s Senate Surf Summit."
The event also drew tremendous support from the local community; local surf camp Malibu Makos supplied the surf equipment and instructors, Vintage Grocers provided snacks and a food discount, and the City of Malibu pitched in with extra lifeguards, lunch and swag-bag giveaways for the kids.
For many participants, today marked a milestone as their first surfing experience and, for some, their first time at the beach. With several enthusiastically reporting that it would not be their last.
“Even though you wipe-out it’s still fun,” said Kaitelynn Ng, a high school Senior from the Boys & Girls Club of the West San Gabriel Valley. “I was nervous to get on the board at first, but now I am raising my hand whenever the instructors look for a volunteer.”
“I wanted to come out today and try something new,” said Genine Ramirez, a high school student from Compton and member of the Boys & Girls Club of the West San Gabriel Valley. “I’ve seen surfing on TV and it looked fun but I didn't know how to do it myself. With the instructors here to teach you it makes it a lot easier to try and I stood up on the board a couple of times.”
Today's event was the first of it's kind and Senator Stern looks forward to engaging with these community partners and more at the next Surf Summit event.
Henry Stern is Chair of the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments, and the first millennial elected to the California State Senate. Senator Stern also serves on four additional key committees: Energy, Utilities and Communications, Environmental Quality, Judiciary, and Natural Resources and Water. He represents nearly 1 million residents of the 27th Senate District, which includes Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Malibu, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, part of Santa Clarita and the following Los Angeles communities: Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Encino, Porter Ranch, Reseda, Tarzana, West Hills, Winnetka, and Woodland Hills. http://sd27.senate.ca.gov.