‘Day at the beach’ offers new meaning for local JROTC

| November 17, 2017 | 0 Comments

AccesSurf program participants are aided by cadets from the Mililani Army JROTC as part of the Day at the Beach monthly experience. AccesSurf introduces children, adults and veterans with disabilities to adaptive water recreation.
(Photo by Timothy Schiller Jr.)


Cadet Captain Shirley Sanchez
Mililani Army JROTC
WHITE PLAINS BEACH, BARBERS POINT — A group of 45 cadets from the Trojan Battalion of Mililani Army JROTC participated in the AccesSurf program, here.

The AccesSurf program offers help to children, adults and veterans with disabilities. The goal is to help attendees discover their level of abilities in the ocean, and just have fun.

The nonprofit “Day at the Beach” program is a free monthly service provided by trained volunteers to introduce adaptive aquatic recreation equipment using specialized surfboards, wave skis and flotation devices for anyone with a physical or cognitive disability.

Recognizing service and ohana
The program allows family and friends to participate in outdoor recreation as part of the family or ohana.

“This service learning project is an important part of the JROTC experience because through serving others, we are able to learn more about ourselves,” said Cadet Lt. Col. Travis Afuso, Trojan battalion commander. “Walking away from this project, cadets are more appreciative for what they have, and they are also inspired to find other ways to impact the community and help those in need.

“Participating in service projects, in general, have always warmed my heart because of all the lessons learned,” said Cadet Capt. Brandon Arthur, battalion accreditation’s officer. “In AccesSurf, all of the participants hardships are easily forgotten as we all pitch in as a battalion to help them get out for just one good day on the beach, while we in turn learn to become better citizens. I wouldn’t trade my experience I had with these amazing people for anything in the world.”

Brandon added that he wants to participate in every future JROTC AccesSurf event this year.

Following their experience, Cadet Trace Pule & Sierra Lyon, seniors from the Waialua High School detachment, each expressed they were honored to participate in the AccesSurf. Each plans to participate once again with AccesSurf and bring the program to their school and community. This opportunity also provided them with a new outlook on the importance of servitude.

“AccesSurf was an amazing opportunity to the cadets in our battalion to do some true service to the community, while also being able to take away lessons that they can apply to the real world”, said the senior service learning coordinator, Cadet Capt. Annie Montalbano.

“It’s not just about their time in the water,” she said. “It’s simply also a chance for the participants to meet new people and enjoy a day on the beach. AccesSurf is always a great time with meeting new people, surfing waves that put smiles on these people’s faces, then having the best burger in their life that equals a memory of a lifetime. The battalion was able to learn and take away knowledge that will stay with them forever. AccesSurf is ohana.”

“The mission of JROTC is to motivate young people to become better citizens,” said Cadet Afuso. “And I can think of no better way to do this than by enabling them to have a direct and positive impact on the lives of others.”

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