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“I feel a lot more confident from surfing,” David Rivera, 16.

David has been surfing as part of the Newport Experience NEX for two years and getting great joy out of not only learning to surf but coaching others to ride the waves.

David surfing at Second Beach with our partners GNOME surf therapy.

How did this summer experience meet your expectations? Did you get more or less than what you expected?

It actually even went farther than my expectations. Getting to know a lot more new kids since the first time and all the kids had a lot of fun. It made me happy to see kids actually wanting to be here. 

Do you have a few highlights from NEX? If so, what are they?

It was me and Martin helping other kids to surf and one of the kids I was helping to surf was Sosi. She picked it up so well. And she was like, after like three days, she was a natural. I have never seen someone pick up stuff so fast in my life. 

Can you remember a precise moment when you were working with her?

Let me see. It was probably when she first popped up. She was so happy. After trying and trying and falling, but she never gave up. So she finally popped up and got so excited.

Can you think of one word that describes NEX? A family.

Can you think of any ways we can make NEX better? 

Not really. I feel like that it was so good. Everyone had fun. Everyone got to try out new stuff that they wanted to do..

At the beginning of the summer we asked if you had ideas about your future, what you might want to do either in school or beyond; has anything you’ve done, or anyone you’ve met this summer made you think differently about your future?

Yes. One of my mentors this summer, Lauren did. She helped me out a lot over the summer. She helped me learn how kids, like, sometimes they need help and we have to show it to them.

And some kids, they need to like to show some fun in some other ways. So she helped me learn how some kids learn, how like, how their parents teach them how to have fun, to help them communicate with other kids in the group to have fun. 

And how does that help you? Or what does that make you think about your future?

Um, how it makes me feel about my future is hoping I can be a good role model and show all the kids it’s nice to make new friends and not to be shy often. 

My dream is to go to college and play basketball.

Did you improve your wellness this summer?

Yes. I feel like getting out, actually getting to know kids and how they feel about all the counselors and seeing how nice we all are and see how helpful we really are to each other. 

How about physical wellness, like getting outside and surfing, how did that make you feel?

I feel a lot more confident from surfing. I feel a lot more confident because usually a lot of people will try something and give up, but a lot of kids in the surfing group tried surfing loop and they really want to get good at, so we all kept trying and practicing and we all are confident popping up on the waves.

Has the summer changed how you think about community? 

Yes. Usually communities are like how I think of it it’s like a big family. So everyone usually gets together and do like a little party or something to show how happy we are to be in the community and how thankful everyone is to show up and stuff. That’s how I think of it. 

How did that shift though, from what you’ve caught before? 

To like add more people to our community because adding more kids is too, like it’s like increasing our a family and getting to know more people. 

Anything else?

I got my progress report today. I actually aced all my classes.

David and Martin getting ready to surf at Second Beach
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