The Newport chapter is working with a group of students through a youth service leadership and exchange program with students from Bosnia and Herzegovina to do a beach cleanup and water quality testing this week. They will learn stewardship skills through their project with the chapter and then organize projects when they return to their respective countries. Since the aftermath of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) from ’92-’95, the regions of the country have been ethnically segregated. The 18 students and three teachers in this program are from three different towns, each representing one of the three ethnic groups of BiH: Serbs (Eastern Orthodox), Croats (Catholics) and Bosniaks (Muslims). Many of their leaders and friends (and possibly some of these students) have held preconceived notions about the other ethnic groups due to the war, urban legend, general prejudices.

One of the goals of the program is to bridge those divides and form friendships. Another is to develop leadership skills and give these students the tools to complete service projects in their country. Clean-ups are very easy and inexpensive projects for them to replicate. At Surfrider, we realize our actions and stewardship can have global implications. Working with these youth to develop stewardship skills locally, these lasting impressions and new knowledge will be impacting countries far away.

Join them this Friday at South Beach at 10:00 am. when the project begins!