Juhu, I’m Chicken, one of the founders of this great association and the brain behind this surf event in Bern.
I live in Switzerland, in beautiful Lucerne to be precise, and work here as a pastor at the Reformed Church. We pastors know each other across parishes, and so some time ago I was asked by the parish of Köniz and invited to organize a surf day for families with children and young people together with them. My reputation as a surfer and founder of NOMB Changes probably precedes me.
A day should be organized on the subject of waves of life, connected to the important values of equality and equal opportunities. On a warm August day, NOMB Changes was a guest in the municipality of Köniz, in the beautiful Swiss city of Bern.
Reunion at the setting up the surf event
In the morning I was up early, the anticipation of finally seeing the NOMB Changes team again and working together was so great. Since the four of us (Annette, Angie, Doro and I) all live in different places or countries, every meeting is a gift and is celebrated.
Our reunion in the parking lot of the public swimming pool was correspondingly intense. Lots of hugs, laughter and, of course, a little bit of Schabernack could not be missing. In order to prepare and coordinate the surf event in peace, we met a few hours beforehand. Together with Pastor Philipp Kohli we built up and started the surf day motivated.
Get on the boards and let’s go
Shortly after the first balance boards, pedalos and other balancing devices were set up on the square, the first children were already balancing across the pool square, with beaming faces and filled hearts. The event hadn’t even officially started yet.
You can imagine our anticipation. NOMB Changer Annette was tireless in helping children to balance, providing information and spreading good cheer. And before you know it, the surf event was in full swing.
Equal opportunities in water and on land
It was particularly pleasing that many girls and young women felt attracted to surfing. Girls of all ages enthusiastically romped around the balance landscape and queued up to start paddling on the surfboards in the pool. Fears and insecurities of being in the water were addressed and overcome, proud eyes twinkled around us. Seeing that confirmed to me right away that we can make something important happen here.
We believe in equal opportunities and inclusion, values that are reflected in all our projects. When we saw a young boy watching us with his mother at the edge of the pool, while his sister was busy paddling through the pool, we approached the two and invited them to take part. For us, disabilities, whether physical or mental, are no reason not to be able to enjoy surfing. On the contrary. We are convinced of the positive impact that surfing has as a therapeutic tool. The happy squeaking of our surfer confirmed this once more.
Great fun on the surfboards
Equal rights and equal opportunities were talked about and discussed with interested parents while surfboards were gliding over the water next door. Our NOMB changers in the water, surf coaches Angie and Lindis, were not given a break. The motivation of the children and young people could be felt and all courses were fully booked. Spontaneously interested children were of course also allowed to go on the board for a short time, and so there was a lot of paddling in the pool for beginners.
On the meadow next to the balance landscape, the first children and young people practiced the pop-up, which gave them the perfect preparation for surfing in the water, so that they could really perform on the surfboard in the pool. But even without pop-up training, all participants made it onto the surfboard or SUP. At the end of each course, everyone was allowed to squeeze onto the SUP together and do a few fun laps through the pool.
A happy team of NOMB Changers
As confirmation that they had been participating, everyone received a NOMB Changes sticker tattoo, which many children were particularly proud of. Siii, the NOMB Changer Community is constantly growing. In addition, there were Polaroid photos by star photographer and NOMB Changer Miris, who captured important moments and memories for the participants of this surfing event.
A relaxed atmosphere, beaming faces, laughter and shouts of joy filled the Badi with lots of positive vibes. Especially when, thanks to a rubbish campaign, the public pool was freed from the little rubbish that had been collected by the participating young people. The preservation of creation is also important to us in the outdoor pool! The prize was a NOMB Changes shirt, which was worn proudly.
A successful surf event far away from the sea
An unforgettable experience for young and old. Of course, surfing is not the same outside the sea, but even without waves, the sport of surfing can move a lot. This wonderful day showed me again that surfing is an important tool to initiate lasting changes. Through the connection with surfing and nature, in the individual and in society.
Big thanks goes out to the local pastor Philipp. Thanks for your trust and support, we feel honoured to have joined you and your community.
NOMB Changes is a non-profit association evolved from the passion for surfing, the love for mother earth and the fundamental belief of initiating great changes with little steps.