On the morning of Saturday, December 17th, M-A students and families participated in the Surfriders San Mateo County beach cleanup. They came out on a very windy morning to clean Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay from 9 to 11 a.m. Surfriders has 80 different chapters throughout the country, each dedicated to helping keep individual county beaches clean. Their mission statement says, “The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches, for all people, through a powerful activist network.”

The M-A Surfriders club works with the San Mateo County Chapter. Senior Erin Young, the club president, said, “I work closely with three other people to plan cleanups, work with the San Mateo Chapter to have cleanups together, and run the meetings we have at school. My favorite part about Surfriders is that I get to meet people I would have never met before. It is such an established club at M-A that people from all different grades and friend groups participate in our cleanups. Seeing all different types of people help keep our beaches clean is very rewarding. 

Many students from M-A attended the clean up, including junior Camille Melcher. She said, “I heard about Surfriders through my friends in APES and also the club’s Instagram. I love how I am able to help the community and give back, especially since the beach is my happy place.” 

For each chapter, there is an executive committee with many important volunteers that play main roles in Surfriders. 

Volunteer Event Coordinator Darien Brocco said, “My job is to help plan events and I am in charge of the community aspect. I got involved through surfing and Surfriders is a prestigious name in surfing. During the pandemic, like many, I felt isolated and like I was alone so I joined to build and become a part of the community.”

Vice Chair Britt Bensen said, “I have been a part of the chapter for five years. I had heard about the organization for a while and came to one event and then a meeting and really loved the people involved and started leading the fundraising. I believe our role within the chapter is that we are all stewards of Surfriders trying to protect our local area and beaches. Our goal is to find more people to join the chapter so they can protect their neighborhoods and backyards as well.”

De-Facto Secretary Nora Sakiv said, “I got involved because I grew up by the coast and always had a love for the beach. I wanted to help keep local neighborhoods clean, and the beach is just an extension of that. I heard about Surfriders through local surfers and others that live nearby. I got involved because I was excited to participate with the community and meet so many great people.”

On why she got involved with Surfriders, Young said, “I got involved with Surfriders because I have always loved the ocean and sustainability. I’m even planning to study environmental studies with a focus in marine biology in college. Because of these passions, I have been involved with Surfriders since my freshman year. I am always looking for more ways to be sustainable and kind to the environment, so Surfriders was the perfect club for me to join.”

Through the help of adults, students, and families, Surfriders was able to collect 61 pounds of trash, 18 pounds of recyclables, and 100 cigarette butts from the beach this past weekend. 

Surfriders is a great organization that serves local beaches by protecting wildlife and local communities. If you are passionate about the environment, the beach, and keeping our local areas clean, you should check out the Surfriders club! 

Natalie Shannon is a sophomore and it is her first year in Journalism writing for MA chronicle. She enjoys writing about events and fun activities happening around school. In her free time, Natalie likes hanging out with her friends.

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