The Return of the Safari Surfer.
I am continually amazed by the large number of returning Safari Surf School ‘students’. Year after year guests come back to Safari to pick up where they left off – to surf, dine, zipline, swim, relax and groove on the mellow Pura Vida beach vibe we are known for. A sure sign of a good operation can be measured by the number of people who return. They bring family and friends, gifts and photos, and huge hugs and smiles. The friendships fostered during their initial visit are lasting and meaningful. I don’t know the actual statistics, but my guess is that at least 50% of our guests come back – a phenomenal number! I have wanted to do a little profile on our alumni, see what brings them back, what they would like to accomplish, and how they feel once here. Now is a good time to start.
Jason Roderick and his “kids” recently returned for their fourth consecutive trip to Safari Surf School. Jason is the Director of Counseling Services at the prestigious Providence Country Day School in Rhode Island, a private learning institution that balances rigorous academics, visual and performing arts, and competitive athletics. As a former Dean of Students at Vermont Academy Jason created a month long environmental study abroad program called Eco-Ecuador which was adopted into PCD’s study abroad program. It was here that Jason realized the profound impact that location based learning had on students. They experienced new cultures, languages, and customs, far different from theirs which facilitated new perspectives and insights. Jason went on to create the PCD surf/yoga program and selected Nosara as the ideal location to bring students to. He graciously answered a few questions for me.
GROUP LEADER JASON RODERICK
PL: How did you come to select Nosara for these youth travel experiences?
JR: I had been to Nosara once before 9 years ago. The laid back “wellness vibe” is what sold me. Everything here exudes a positive, healthy lifestyle. It is the perfect getaway from winter in New England.
PL: How do your spread the word to students and parents?
JR: Every year I present a slide show to students, teachers, and parents. Nosara is such a spectacular visual place, the nature, the ocean, the people. Imagine watching these images of happy people enjoying this tropical paradise with a foot of snow on the ground!
PL: How are students selected?
JR: We interview all interested kids and their parents. The seniors have first priority on available openings. The parents really support me. You might think they would be hesitant to let their kids travel to what they might perceive a “third world country”, but it’s just the opposite. The Eco-Ecuador concept laid the groundwork for these types of study abroad experiences. The kids came back enlightened and the parents were convinced!
PL: How did you come to select Safari Surf School as base camp?
JR: On my earlier trip I discovered Casa Tucan. It had this really cozy surf vibe, very friendly, small, great food. I met Tim Marsh and we mapped out a customized itinerary that was basically all-inclusive; lodging, meals, surfing, yoga, a canopy tour zip line day in the rainforest, and a community exchange encounter. Now here we are on trip #4!
PL: What are the students’ impressions of the experience?
JR: Over the top, just ‘stoked’, that’s the word! I am a very organized detail person and think every aspect of the trip down to the minute. But when you get here and become immersed in the energy and atmosphere, you adopt a little more “go with the flow” attitude. It’s therapeutic!
Pl: Thanks for coming Jason, congrats on another great trip.
JR: See you next year.
I grabbed a few of the students to get their impressions…
KIRI, NATE, AMARA
PL: Do you all go to Providence Country Day School?
Kids: Providence and Wheeler, both private schools.
PL: How do you like it here?
NATE: You know how when you go on vacation a lot of it is planning, preparation, packing, and flying and a lot of details? You finally get there and it takes a few days to finally unwind and can ask yourself ‘was it all worth it’? Well here on my first morning we were walking on the jungle path to the beach and it just hit me and I’m thinking “if I had to go back right this instant it would still be totally worth it”. Best trip of my life!
JUNGLE TRAIL TO BEACH
AMARA: This place is amazing, so laid back, you can walk everywhere, and everyone waves to you!
KIRI: I felt ‘at home’ here from day one. Surfing is so fantastic and the instructors are such cool guys and very professional. A lot of girls surf here so I felt welcome and accepted in the water. Also the food, loved it all!
THE GANGS ALL HERE!
BEACH WARM-UP AND TRAINING
JASON’S WIFE KELLY & SON GREYSON
AMARA INDO BOARD PRACTICE
SAFARI / PCD CLASS OF 2014
Thanks for reading!