Each month, our Chica Brava Instructor team meets with a group of young Nicaraguan women from Escuela Adelante between the ages of 10-12 years old. Chicas Adelante is a fun, interactive group with the aim of incorporating an avenue for our girls to have the freedom to ask questions and learn more about topics important both for their health and happiness.
In January 2016, Chica Brava was delighted to hold our annual Camp Bella event, a week long surf camp with other fun activities, which combined to create incredible memories and stronger friendships for girls in need. This year, Camp Bella was aimed at our wonderful Chicas Adelante, to further build relationships and encourage our chicas to be all that they can be. Escarleth, Isleny, Nicol, Sofia, Iliana, Fernanda, Ileana, Odalys, Maria Paola, Zhuemy and Soe – to these eleven chicas, thank you for a week that we will never forget.
C – Captivating
A – Active
M – Monkeys
P – Proud
B – Beauty
E – Enthusiasm
L – Loco for JB
L – Lion hearted
A – Always an adventure
CAPTIVATING: Surrounded by a group of captivating young women, we were mesmerized by their utmost joy in and out of the water. From the comments that took our breath away for the maturity that was apparent, to the laughter that resounded throughout Surf House every night.
ACTIVE: On the go all week, the girls were constantly involved in activities which certainly helped towards the hope for an early bedtime. Yet somehow our chicas always managed to find bursts of energy to last on into the night with songs, scary stories and popcorn, like all the best sleepovers.
MONKEYS: Eleven cheeky monkeys never failed to put a smile on our faces. Whether it was a joke, a surfing wipeout or simply hysterical fits of laughter. It was an entertaining week that had the instructors all smiling like the Cheshire cat.
PROUD: For these girls growing up into lovely young women, it is a privilege and a delight for Chica Brava to be a part of their world. To talk openly, laugh loudly and sing horribly alongside them, we are incredibly proud of each girl.
BEAUTY: To see young girls enjoying time out in the surf, laughing and loving every minute of it was a pleasure beyond words. As ocean lovers, the instructor team are thrilled when we are able to pass on our stoke to others. None more so than with our nicaraguan chicas, their first time on a surfboard seeing the beauty of the ocean and the delight it provides. There is beauty in all things, a shy smile, a surprised face, the pleasure of riding a wave.
ENTHUSIASM: A reminder to be like children again. To never lose the love of simply being present in each moment, with joy and a zest for life like these young women. Camp Bella brought this perspective back into the foremost part of our minds, in which we are so thankful to have been a part of such laughter and hilarity.
LOCO FOR JB: Theme song for the week, Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” blared from every stereo, cellphone and speaker box during camp. Not a day or even an hour went by without someone saying “We want Justin Bieber!”. Enjoying a dance night complete with actions and crazy dance moves was a wonderful sight, which is still enjoyed to this day whenever these chicas hear “Is it too late now to say sorry”.
LIONHEARTED: Brave girls, our ChicaBravas. Overcoming their fear of horses or venturing out into the waves further than they had ever been before. The girls pushed their comfort zones and realised that they have the ability to overcome those fears that prevent them from enjoying what is on offer.
ALWAYS AN ADVENTURE: Excited, giggly laughter that emanated from our chicas accompanied every activity during the week. With a group of cheeky, intelligent girls we were never without adventure!
An adventurous week packed with everything from swim lessons to nail painting, horse riding to sailing, chicas and Chica Brava team alike had an incredible week building friendships and laughing like hyenas. What follows may give you an overview of a week that we will not forget. With thanks to the many people and organisations in San Juan del Sur that provided, supported and helped Camp Bella to be the wonderful week it was.
Day 1: Spending the afternoon at Pelican Eyes for swimming lessons was a great way to start the week and help our girls feel comfortable in the water. Followed by Pizza night at Surf House, the girls got stuck in after an active afternoon and Mauricio’s pizza sure hit the spot! An evening of fingernail painting and journal decorating made for a girly sleepover and those nails sure became sparkly! Meanwhile, the instructors were attacked with bright and sparkly bottles of nail polish which lasted for days, since none of us were willing to scrub off those delightfully funny designs that adorned our nails.
Day 2: An early morning yoga session, run by the lovely Suzanna Vik at Zen Yoga, was a great way to wake up the girls and stretch out those muscles in preparation for the surfing ahead. Our surprise for the girls on day two of Camp Bella was a morning at Rancho Chilamate, a stunning horse ranch located 20 minutes south of SJDS. Each one of our chicas got a chance to ride one of the ranch’s beautiful horses, taking photos of each other while donning cowboy hats and massive grins. After a Rancho feast for lunch, we set off with full bellies onwards to Playa Remanso for the first Surf lesson of camp! Dinner at El Pollito that night was a treat to end the day and celebrate the stoke that surfing provides.
Day 3: To really get the adrenalin pumping, a fun exercise session was run by the awesome Coach Rob from GetFit Nicaragua. With burpees and jumping jacks, it put the girls into a perfect frame of mind for the surfing pop-up taught on day one. It was only the second day of surfing, yet our girls nailed it! Jumping to their feet and riding waves into the beach, created loud hoots of laughter and whistles from the rest of our crew. Accompanied also by hilarious wipeouts, surfing is the epitome of happiness and our beach days at camp were unlike any other. Dinner at El Timon was an amazing affair, exquisitely presented with creativity and marshmallows. Add maracas to the mix and it couldn’t have been better!
Day 4: Surfing in the morning was another fabulous time, full of supportive girls who were starting to help each other out in the waves. It was a lovely sight for the instructors to see confidence growing and their self-belief really start to kick in. Another surprise awaited our chicas for the afternoon, sailing north to Playa Blanca on the Nica Sail & Surf Catamaran! Jumping off the side, playing ball, noodle fights and beach strolls made for fantastic time at Playa Blanca. Followed up by chips and ceviche which went down a treat, we sailed home under the setting sun. The sky was painted with an array of vibrant colours as we sailed into the bay, everyone dancing and jiving to the beats of Justin Bieber on the deck of the boat. Thanks to Candace Patillo for providing a perfect pasta plate for dinner that night as an end to another wonderful day!
Day 5: The final day had come upon us, and our little surfistas didn’t want to leave the surf. After four wonderful days of riding waves, surfing down the line and making sandcastles, we had created incredible, lasting memories. Once back at Surf House, every chica received a lovely award based on what we noticed during the week. With awards that ranged from the most caring, to the joker of the group, from the helper to the organiser. It was a neat way to celebrate our surfistas and the joyful time we had together.
A week filled with fun, accompanied by learning more about what each of us are capable of. Camp Bella, simply the best! A massive thanks goes out to all of our donors, helpers and supporters that enabled Camp Bella 2016 to be all that it was. For giving eleven young women the chance to surf, learn, give and enjoy time together. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for we could not have done this without you.
– Rancho Chilamate
– Nica Sail & Surf
– Zen Yoga
– GetFit Nicaragua
– Pelican Eyes
– El Timon
– Mauricio’s Pizzaria San Juan
– El Pollito Pescador
– A very special thanks to Candace Pattillo and the rest of the Chica Brava Team.
– A HUGE thanks to the SJDS Cerveceria, who provided the space for Chica Brava to hold the Camp Bella fundraiser.
Once again with all of our love and thanks, Camp Bella was a wonderful success due all who helped, donated and supported towards this incredible week. From all the Chica Brava staff and Escuela Adelante teachers, we cannot thank you enough!
Camp Operations Manager 2015-2017
Chica Brava Camp Bella 2016