A connection with the ocean can be one of life’s most rewarding relationships. Sadly, even here in Southern California, not everyone has the chance to experience open water regularly due to financial constraints, lack of transportation, even fear passed through the generations. Through our ‘Play in the Waves’ program, we foster a connection between underserved communities and the ocean.
Since 2020, we've run fun, immersive ocean programs for hundreds of underserved middle and high school-age kids. Our comprehensive entry-level courses introduce young people from all walks of life to the joys of ocean swimming. They cover everything from water safety to conservation skills, inspiring healthy lifestyles, boosting confidence, and sparking the desire to protect our marine environment for the future.
The year-round ‘Play in the Waves’ program:
Location: Los Angeles + San Diego
Dryland: In (on-beach) class, each day has a different focus, from learning about water safety skills or local marine ecosystems to plastic pollution and conservation tips that are easy to incorporate into daily life.
In the water: Working one-on-one, experienced and highly trained OWO mentors guide participants through the waves to a beginners-level swim course. A post-swim beach clean-up creates a bridge between what they learn in the classroom and their direct experience on the beach.
Throughout the program, participants gradually swim farther and get comfortable in various ocean conditions under the watchful eye of an experienced swimmer and mentor. It’s a physically, mentally, and emotionally rewarding experience they’ll never forget. On graduation, they recieve a certificate and are welcomed into the year-round OWO program to continue their open water adventures with weekly swim and beach clean-up sessions.
Why do we need ‘Play in the Waves’?
The communities we serve have limited coastal access. Often, fear of the ocean and its wildlife—sometimes passed from parent to child—is overwhelming. It’s why we assign trained, experienced ocean swimmers as one-on-one mentors to help our guppies address their concerns. By giving them tools for life that overcome their discomfort, we help them engage with the ocean safely, break old cycles and inspire the desire to protect our vulnerable marine habitats.
The true measure of success for ‘Play in the Waves’ is in the growth of our participants:
Confidence: Overcoming fear to find pride in their new skills, which will help keep them safe and bring them joy for life.
Community: We see that graduates delight not only in their own growth but also in that of their peers.
Health: Ocean swimming has countless physical benefits from the fresh air, physical exercise, and vitamin D received in water and encourages a healthy lifestyle.
Awareness: By teaching young people about local marine ecosystems, showing them how their actions impact vulnerable wildlife and habits, and giving them the chance to build an affinity with the ocean, we’re creating the ocean advocates of the future.
Passion: Graduates are always willing to share their new-found knowledge with family and friends, encouraging more people to connect with and in the ocean.
By sowing these seeds, we help instill a lifelong love for the ocean that’s passed down through generations. That’s powerful!
Want to sponsor our ‘Play in the Waves’ program? Get in touch.
All our mentors are experienced swimmers and volunteer their time for the program.
The cost of running a session varies by location depending on lifeguard fees and permits starting at about $200 per session. If you'd like to sponsor a session you can donate $200 by clicking the button below.
If you or your company is interested in partnering in this program please contact our founder at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the form below.