With this blog I want to share with you how the second and last week of Sun Tribe at Delta del Ebro inspired and changed a group of seven young women. At the start of Sun Tribe at Delta del Ebro, we got to know each other. The power of the positive relationships, coupled with the constant improvement on the water, started to show inspiring results.
There are so many examples that happened during the first stop at Delta del Ebro that illustrate this. Let me share some with you…
No Wind, No Problem!
Sun Tribe is always ready for action during the days where the meteorological conditions are not favorable for kitesurfing. There are many activities that can be done to improve kitesurfing skills even though there is no wind. Practicing self-rescue took priority at the top of the no wind activity list, and after this we were ready for more fun.
Carolina and I made sure that we had relevant activities in place to reinforce with the girls direct contact with the sea and nature, and foster continuous self-improvement, teamwork, and of course, to practice kitesurfing skills like the water start and balance. We are happy to say that we found an inclusive community that offered supplementary activities to Sun Tribe. Thanks to Mestralkite that volunteered with SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) lessons for the girls and to Deltingpark for donating wakeboard classes. Both experiences were remarkable for the teenagers as they extended to them the opportunity to get comfortable in the water and overcome challenges, all while having fun with their friends and instructors.
We See the Results!
We started the lessons hearing lots of “I can’t”, “help me!”, “I am afraid!” from the students. After the girls demonstrated to themselves they could achieve goals such as kite control and standing up on a wakeboard or a SUP board, the messages we started to hear turned into “can we use the board now?”, “I want to come back tomorrow”, “I can do it!”. And yes, they can do it. Those are the four key words that can change a life. There were so many examples of confidence that Sun Tribe generated among these girls. I will always remember when one of the girls who used to have low expectations on her skills, tried over and over to stand up on the board until she did it successfully. The smile on her face is hard to describe but it will always remind me of the power of self-achievement.
With the development of the positive message “I can do it”, comes the emergence of commitment, responsibility, perseverance, self-confidence, passion, and many more life long skills needed to succeed. It is the beginning of a self driven life with a huge potential for success.
This was just the beginning of something we didn’t even imagine. It wasn’t until the last day that we realized how much this project benefited the girls.
We celebrated the last session with a farewell gathering at the Trabucador beach from Delta del Ebro, our kitesurfing spot. We enjoyed snacks together as well as a reflection about the things we learned.
I used a metaphor to reflect about the strategies and skills learned during the project. So I started saying: “Everyone has a backpack in which we put the things we have learned. Some things will get lost but there are others that we will carry with us forever. What is something you added in your backpack during the Sun Tribe project?”. The students, families, social workers and the instructors shared their reflections, and among them, they expressed:
¨To not be afraid¨
¨Patience and the will for more!¨
¨Camaraderie, like when preparing the lines together or when practicing SUP¨
¨Teamwork when preparing the gear¨
¨The parallelism between sport and psychological well being ¨
¨Not being afraid to stand up on the board ¨
¨The girls being excited every day about the project. They never complained to go!¨
¨The experience of giving the opportunity to learn something new ¨
¨Learning while teaching gave me confidence ¨
¨Teamwork, security ¨
The Project Assessment by Instructors and Social Workers
Given the fact that we are part of the social programs that the girls come from, such as Caritas and the social services from the city council of Deltebre, it is important for us to reflect together about the impact that the project has had on the girls. This is essential in order to plan continuity programs for the students as well as to improve the project for future interventions.
We would like to share with you some of the reflections as they become the soul and reason for the existence of Sun Tribe.
Sun Tribe became a positive opportunity for the teenagers to get to know the sport of kitesurfing since the social work organizations don’t have the resources to offer such sports programs. This project offered the social workers a different environment in which to assess many of the girls’ social skills. The students were exposed to scenarios involving conflict resolution, social interactions and challenges directly related with the sport of kitesurfing. We could observe which mechanisms and strategies the girls have. Some of them showed perseverance, attentive listening, and motivation to learn. We also noticed a will to try something new, and eagerness for adventure and exploration. It was also a good experience to detect areas for improvement such as feeling the need of being the center of attention, the usage of excuses to avoid doing a task and the lack of tolerance or frustration.
These assessments will be integrated into the social work programs in an effort to continue improving the skills gained by the girls during Sun Tribe. As the social worker from Caritas Marisol Montfort expressed “It has been very useful to observe how the girls socialize and which defense mechanisms they have in an unusual environment that is outside of their comfort zone”.
Marisol Montfort summarized the benefit of Sun Tribe in one sentence: “The project benefits the girls because they learn that they can achieve what they propose, knowing that involves time and personal development.”
The girls were motivated by and connected to the project, they always looked forward to participate, said Marisol Montfort.
The last day, the girls decided to give flowers to Carolina and I, along with a heartfelt thank you card. This gesture can seem simple but it is the result of a group of girls who appreciate something that was done just for them. Those teenagers are living a stage of their lives where it is very important for them to be able to choose positive relationships, and choose to keep them. This authentic and spontaneous gesture is a beautiful example of this realization, where they welcome positivity into their lives.
Taking advantage of the motivation, all the girls showed interest in continuing to learn kitesurfing, Sun Tribe and the social workers decided to offer a continuity program to the kitegirls who show academic success. Kitesurfing can also bring positive academic results! 🙂
During the last day, one of the girls was sad because, in her words, ‘the project finished’. In an effort to comfort her, I told her that “this is not the end, it is the beginning of something amazing”. This girl as well as all of the other kitegirls from Sun Tribe at Delta del Ebro, are very motivated to continue practicing in the sport and to keep in touch with us, the KiteSirens. Sun Tribe planted a seed that can grow into a passion. A passion for a watersport such as kitesurfing, which can help them to grow socially, and develop healthy relationships with new friends. This seed is going to grow, and the KiteSirens will make sure it grows as high as each girl wants.
To make it possible we are developing a continuity program to sponsor the girls with extra kitesurfing lessons and kitesurfing gear. At Delta del Ebro, we can count with our collaborating kitesurfing school Deltakitesup, which is going to offer the kitegirls extra lessons.
We will keep you updated on its development!