On January 19, the bishop of the Diocese of Mar del Plata, Gabriel Mestre and the world director of Scholas, José María del Corral, announced that in Mar del Plata classes would begin on February 1 with a School of life, an experience based on surfing and art, following the pedagogy proposed by Pope Francis in the call for a global educational pact.
One month after the experience, the first 40 participants shared their testimony with Gabriel Mestre, bishop of the Diocese of Mar del Plata; Andrés Maccio, president of the Municipal Sports and Recreation Entity; Gaston Villatoro, General Secretary SMATA Mar del Plata; Ignacio Mesa, president of the Industrial Park and representative of the Pharmamerican Laboratory, and Rodolfo Sotura, president of Quicksilver Argentina. The renowned surfer Fernando Aguerre also accompanied them at the end of this experience.
Surrounded by the kites that they themselves made these days, the young people said that the experience, in addition to surfing, included art, mural and writing activities.
Luba, one of the participating adolescents, expressed emotionally: “I know that it helped more than one of them to get away from drugs and problems. I would be glad that this could continue because it is the only thing that should last a lifetime ”.
“It is a very nice experience, I will never forget this Summer. I am grateful to have been able to take part and I would love for it to continue and for many more children to be able to have this beautiful experience”, explained Valentina, another of the participating students.
After listening carefully, the authorities present made a return:
Gabriel Mestre expressed: “As Bishop I want to highlight three points: life, creativity and freedom. These words express the testimonies of what each one lived in this School of Sea and Beach. At the same time, he recalled the words of Pope Francis: “´Sport brings out the best in everyone´, keep practicing it. Thank you for your testimony”, concluded the Bishop.
While Andrés Maccio, president of the Municipal Sports and Recreation Entity, explained: “On behalf of the Municipality, I congratulate you from the bottom of my heart, I encourage you to continue and of course it seems brilliant to me that you realize that these spaces transform people, they educate and train ”.
“The surfer Fernando Aguerre commented that a few years ago he came into contact with Scholas and the project in Mozambique: ” Regardless of the ideologies, religions or beliefs of each person, surfing has a lot to do all over the world. I love what they are doing here in Mar del Plata, in Acantilados. The sea belongs to everyone, let’s take advantage of it and take care of it. ”
The participants presented a collaborative mural that they made together in the art encounters. They worked from a void and together they gave it shape and color. “It was a very nice project that helps you a lot to let everything come out, to be able to express yourself. It is an experience that I have never had before, ”explained León when presenting the mural to the authorities.
The “Sea and Beach School” is a project promoted by young people from Scholas; it was born in Argentina, and managed to cross the sea and reach Africa, more precisely Tofo (Mozambique), where a Surf School was developed that is continuing to grow. Today, that same sea brought them back to Argentina, but enriched by their experience in Mozambique.
On Thursday, February 18, the Holy Father sent his blessing to this initiative from Mar del Plata, which is a concrete way to shape the educational pact that he has launched to the whole world, where the local church, the Municipality, SMATA (Union of Mechanics and Related Automotive Transport), the Mar del Plata Industrial Park, MANA Seguros, Pharmamerican Laboratories, Quicksilver Argentina and other social actors.
What did happen?
Pope Francis in his last visit to the Scholas headquarters in Vatican City expressed: “The capacity for disinhibition (in a good way) that is created in the boys and girls who participate in Scholas is great and it is healthy [. ..] What Scholas triggers in each one is poetry […] Poetry is, as the etymology of the word says, creativity […] What makes you grow is creativity […] Poetry gives you leads to creativity and understanding the human path […] The great models of human yearnings, human wisdom or human failures show you the way. That is what I notice in Scholas. Create for freedom […] Scholas bets on what each one has in their heart and that is the ability to grow and make their future. ”
Scholas in each project seeks to create freedom and from there is where the young person begins to discover who he or she is. This path is made from different experiences such as surfing, art, the creation of a mural or a kite, where the important thing is what happens during that creation inside of the young person. Scholas rescues art, play and thought, and the values that these areas bring together.
Then, at the moment of “What’s Up” experience, the young people linger and write what happened to them in the sea, when they went surfing, when they read a book or when they created a kite. Scholas bets on the occurrence of a meaning in creation. Because a culture without meaning generates violence. In this proposal, young people learn to create, listen and celebrate the journey and the links that were formed on it.