What we have been up to in Dunbar and St Andrews in Scotland

At the Wave Project Scotland we have come to the end of our Spring/Summer Surf Therapy courses. Across Dunbar and St Andrews we welcomed 54 young people down to the beach over 6 weeks to learn to surf, have fun on the beach, spend time in nature and build connections in the Wave Project community.  

 

Our surfers were referred by a range of organisations such as Autism Rocks, local schools, Pupil Support Service, GP’s and more. Each surfer facing unique challenges in their lives, we welcomed them with open arms to the sessions. Aiming to build their confidence, resilience and self esteem – giving them the tools they need to have good mental health and face their challenges. We do this in our unique Wave Project way. We surf. We swim. We chat. We look for crabs. We dig big holes. We play games. We laugh. We connect. Each of our surfers are unique, and our approach is child led. This means we allow our surfers to spend their time on the beach in the way that they want to. Don’t want to surf? That’s OK. They are free to enjoy their time on the beach however they want to depending on their needs. We don’t always directly see the impact that the Wave project has on the lives of our surfers, but the things they learn at the Wave project really can be life changing. And even if we don’t directly see the benefit, the important thing is that we try.

Finlay’s mum told us at the end of the course told us “Finlay has struggled a lot less with anxiety and he has been far more resilient in situations which change last minute. Finlay has coped better in general with everyday tasks as he seems to have far more patience, he isn’t always as on edge. 

“The change in Finlay as a person is incredible, he no longer struggles with his emotions as much as he did before The Wave Project. He is more able to take a moment to collect his thoughts before becoming overwhelmed. The change in his energy as a whole is remarkable. He is more relaxed, positive and confident in his abilities to handle situations as they arise. We couldn’t imagine that surf therapy would provide the results that it has, but we are very grateful for the space and opportunities it has given Finlay.” 

This approach is only possible due to our incredible team of volunteer surf mentors being there to give our surfers 1:1 support. They do it because they care. For this, we are so grateful. The power of community shouldn’t be overlooked, and when that community is putting on 5mm of neoprene and battling the wind to jump in the North Sea, something amazing happens. Looking over the diverse group of surfers, coaches, volunteers, families, dogs – I often think it is a group of people that wouldn’t be together anywhere else than The Wave Project. And I think how special that is. In a world fraught with challenges, this is a safe space. A space for laughter. A space for fun. A space for friendships. A space for risk taking. A space for healing.

We are now stoked to welcome these surfers into Surf Club. Our Surf Club is exclusively for young people who have previously completed a surf therapy course and is stage 2 of our intervention. This is where we see long term beneficial impact on our surfer’s mental health. We have been running Surf Club sessions all throughout the year, and have an action packed summer of Surf Club sessions planned.  

    

 One thing we are especially happy to see is some of our surfers who have done previously surf therapy and Surf Club, coming back to volunteer at sessions and even wearing red instructors  vests to help the run the sessions. We are so proud of them.  

We want to shout out our partner surf schools Coast to Coast and Blown Away who have been with us since the start of The Wave Project Scotland journey. You are awesome.  

Thanks to everyone who is part of our big Wave Project Scotland family. 

Lots of love, 

Ru, Alison and Davide