In July, Stand Up Paddle Mexico, a stand up paddleboard shop in Sayulita, started a kids training program. “The youth team has been a dream of our shop for much time now. All of us ‘big paddlers’ who now are the STANDUPMEX team who travel and compete around Mexico, and in Bicho and my case, around the world, is all thanks to the shop support and community it has created, allowing us to have good equipment, training, and a safe place to call our home in the shop. We now will carry this on into the younger generation,” shared Shelby Taylor, who along with Bicho Jiminez, are the trainers who lead this program.
These two Pro Paddlers are excited about this program and bringing the children an activity in which to participate. “Our goal is to teach the kids the basics of SUP, aid them in gaining confidence on the water and in themselves, strengthen their minds and bodies, and provide them with a healthy and fulfilling activity that will teach them discipline, responsibility, and accountability- things all young kids would benefit perfecting,” said Shelby.
The kids are trained in three groups: 6 to 8 year olds, 9 to 11 year olds, and 12 to 17 years old. Between the three groups, there are currently 35 children, both locals and expats. The younger children train twice a week for an hour and the two older groups train three times a week for an hour and 15 minutes.
There has been an overwhelming positive response from the participating children. "I never knew I could be so strong. When I heard my friends were on the team, I wanted to be a part of it for the summer. I didn't know it was going to be so hard, but it is the ‘funnest’ thing I have ever done," shared 12-year-old Grace. "I was scared of the ocean. Now I can be confident and race my friends on the water all by myself," confided 6-year-old Michel, and Jacobo, age 12, said, "I want to travel the whole wide world and win trophies like my coaches."
Each month there will be a fun race and twice a year the children will have the opportunity to race on a bigger scale against other children’s teams. The first big race will be at the end of the summer, complete with prizes.
It’s important to Stand Up Paddle Mexico that any child who wants to participate in this program can, regardless of his or her family’s income level. The shop generously provides all of the equipment, as well as the shop to serve as home base. For those families who can afford it, the monthly fee is 1,000 pesos per child.
Sponsors and local support are needed to sponsor children who can’t afford to pay for the program. Donations are also needed to purchase children’s race boards, paddles, and team uniforms. “We really want to emphasize the need for sponsors and local support. Without the local aid, we can't take them on trips to compete with us, provide the new boards and each has individual paddles, etc. Any local company that becomes a sponsor will get their logo on the jerseys and any local person that sponsors will become a specific child/children's scholarship fund,” said Shelby.
If you’re interested in making a donation or sponsoring a child, contact Shelby Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org. *This program has a not for profit status, so donations are tax deductible.