The Women’s Outreach Mentorship Program (WOMP) provides underprivileged teenage girls the opportunity to improve their swimming skills, learn how to SUP and eventually surf, encourage them to grow personally and build strong bonds with each other using art and the ocean as tools.
The first-ever WOMP program launched in the Spring of 2017 the Afro-Caribbean community of Old Bank on the island Bastimentos located in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago in Panama. The initial program lasted 10 weeks, meeting two times a week throughout the Spring and Summer months and was again reloaded for another 10 weeks in the Fall.
Based on the program's success in its first year, it has been expanded for 2018 to include a weekly session for the teenage girls ages 13-16 as well as an additional session for younger boys and girls between ages 8-12. The program director, Zuli, has set program goals of creating leadership, decision-making, increasing self-esteem, creating routines, and focusing on health, exercise and nutrition. This year, the team will also create upcycling/recycling programs for the community and beach cleanups.
WOMP Bocas is administered by our local non-profit partner Give and Surf and is funded by Changing Tides Foundation. In June 2017, the Changing Tides Foundation Team traveled to Bocas del Toro to participate and engage with the participants of WOMP Bocas. While in Bocas, Give and Surf, CTF and BTSI collaborated on a 3-day women’s empowerment clinic to address gender inequality, body image and other cultural issues through art, photography and water sports and to document the WOMP program’s progress. The teenage girls in the WOMP program are taught swimming, stand up paddleboarding, aquatics safety, marine ecology and eventually surfing!
The program's success has surpassed anyone's expectations and the crew has decided that this should be a year-long, continuous program, but we need your help to keep the WOMP Bocas Program going by donating here.
If you are visiting Bocas del Toro on your holiday, you will also have the option to serve naturally while on your travels and participate in either WOMP or another one of Give and Surf's programs. Contact us for more information.