Aid to Syrian Refugees 2016

Posted on: January 31st, 2016 by olin patterson No Comments
photo by rob marienthal

photo by Rob Marienthal

With over 9 million displaced or killed Syrian refugees, our globe is dealing with the worst humanitarian crisis of our time.

For many months, the coast of Lesvos in Greece, has been the epicenter of thousands of Syrian Refugees seeking safety and shelter. Unfortunately for a countless too many, the trip across the sea has ended in untold drownings and deaths. Since the beginning of January ISLA has been working with our dear friends of Lifeguard Hellas at aid stations along the coast to provide first responder medical and rescue assistance for the Syrian Refugees arriving by vessel. From there, Syrian refugees are given warm clothing, food, safety from the treacherous course they have taken… and most importantly, hope and dignity.

PROJECT UPDATE:

  • ISLA has sent 19 volunteers from 7 countries (Australia, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the USA) in four different teams since January 2nd, 2016.

  • ISLA has assisted in responding to over 1,000 refugees that have arrived to the shores of Lesvos this month. This includes both water and shore responses as well as minor medical aids.

  • ISLA volunteers have donated over $35,000 in critical lifesaving equipment to Lifeguard Hellas through their own personal fundraising efforts.

  • ISLA volunteers along with Lifeguard Hellas are one of the few organizations in the region that are authorized by the Greek Coastguard to make rescues and provide aid. Making our mission in the region more important than ever.

  • ISLA is committed to staying in the region as long as needed, and is in the process of planning 3 more teams to volunteer in the region!!

DATES FOR PROVIDING AID TO LIFEGUARD HELLAS AND THE SYRIAN REFUGEES:

Trip 5 (Team Echo): February 19th – February 29th 2016 – Volunteers will meet in Athens on Feb 19th at 0700.
Trip 6 (Team Foxtrot): February 29th – March 11th –  2016 – THIS REMAINS FLEXIBLE UNTIL WE ANNOUNCE VOLUNTEERS.
Trip 7 (Team Golf): March 11th – March 20th  2016 – THIS REMAINS FLEXIBLE UNTIL WE ANNOUNCE VOLUNTEERS.

EXCHANGE ITINERARY(Subject to change)

Jan 31: Project Application Opens
Feb 7: Project Application Close
Feb 12: Project Volunteers Notified

TRIP 5 (Team Echo):

Feb 19th: Travel Day, Arrive in Mytilene International Airport, shutter to refugee crisis hq to check in and await further duty.
Feb 20-27: work alongside the Greek lifeguards assisting in safely responding to arriving Syrian refugees to the shores of Lesvos.
Feb 28th: Travel Home, or onward on your own!

TRIP 6 (Team Foxtrot):

Feb 29th: Travel Day, Arrive in Mytilene International Airport, shutter to refugee crisis hq to check in and await further duty.
Mar 1-Mar 10: work alongside the Greek lifeguards assisting in safely responding to arriving Syrian refugees to the shores of Lesvos.
Mar 11th: Travel Home, or onward on your own!

TRIP 7 (Team Golf):*

Mar 11th: Travel Day, Arrive in Mytilene International Airport, shutter to refugee crisis hq to check in and await further duty.
Mar 11-19th: work alongside the Greek lifeguards assisting in safely responding to arriving Syrian refugees to the shores of Lesvos.*
Mar 20th: Travel Home, or onward on your own!

*participants of this trip have the opportunity to extend their time based on need in the area.

We will assess follow up trips based on an as-needed basis. Trip dates remain flexible (except Team Echo) until final confirmation Feb 10th.

 

ISLA team 1: lifeguards from Canada, UK and the USA.

ISLA trip 1 (Team Alpha): lifeguards from Canada, UK and the USA. To view more of their adventure click here.

ISLA Team 2: lifeguards from Canada, Uk and the USA.

ISLA Trip 2 (team bravo): lifeguards from Canada, Uk and the USA. To view more of their adventure, click here!

ISLA Team 3: lifeguards from Denmark, UK, Switzerland, and USA.

ISLA Trip 3 (Team Charlie): lifeguards from Denmark, UK, Switzerland, and USA. To view more of their adventure, click here.

COSTS:
ISLA Donation: US$1,500
Airfare to Mytilene International Airport: Lesvos (this is a 50 minute flight from Athens other flight options throughout Europe also exist – from LAX this ranges from $750 to $1700).

INCLUDED IN THE ISLA SYRIAN REFUGEE AID DONATION:

  • Lodging for the duration of the project (this will involve camping and taking shifts through 24 hour periods).
  • Breakfast and Dinner during Volunteer Lifeguard Portions (Lunch is not included)
  • Transportation on the island of Lesvos
  • 1 Year ISLA Membership
  • International travelers insurance for the duration of the project
  • Full ISLA Uniform
  • Equipment Donation
  • Monetary Donation to Lifeguard Hellas Organization

Note: Priority will be given to applicants who are able to understand and speak Arabic and/or Greek fluently.

Apply-Now-Blue-Button

Posted on: January 31st, 2016 by olin patterson No Comments
ISLA Volunteer Caleb Scott guiding in a boat of refugees on the coast of Lesvos.

ISLA Volunteer Caleb Scott of Laguna Beach, CA guiding in a boat of refugees on the coast of Lesvos, Greece.

With over 9 million displaced or killed Syrian refugees, our globe is dealing with the worst humanitarian crisis of our time.

For many months, the coast of Lesvos in Greece, has been the epicenter of thousands of Syrian Refugees seeking safety and shelter. Unfortunately for a countless too many, the trip across the sea has ended in untold drownings and deaths. Since the beginning of January ISLA has been working with our dear friends of Lifeguard Hellas at aid stations along the coast to provide first responder medical and rescue assistance for the Syrian Refugees arriving by vessel. From there, Syrian refugees are given warm clothing, food, safety from the treacherous course they have taken… and most importantly, hope and dignity.

 

PROJECT UPDATE:

  • ISLA has sent 19 volunteers from 7 countries (Australia, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the USA) in four different teams since January 2nd, 2016.
  • ISLA has assisted in responding to over 1,000 refugees that have arrived to the shores of Lesvos this month. This includes both water and shore responses as well as minor medical aids.
  • ISLA volunteers have donated over $35,000 in critical lifesaving equipment to Lifeguard Hellas through their own personal fundraising efforts.
  • ISLA volunteers along with Lifeguard Hellas are on of the few organizations in the region that are permitted to making rescues and providing direct aid. Making our mission in the region more important than ever.
  • ISLA is committed to staying in the region as long as needed, and is in the process of planning 3 more teams to volunteer in the region!!

 

 

DATES FOR PROVIDING AID TO LIFEGUARD HELLAS AND THE SYRIAN REFUGEES:

Trip 5 (Team Echo): February 19th – February 29th 2016 – Volunteers will meet in Athens on Feb 19th at 0700.
Trip 6 (Team Foxtrot): February 29th – March 11th –  2016 – THIS REMAINS FLEXIBLE UNTIL WE ANNOUNCE VOLUNTEERS.
Trip 7 (Team Golf): March 11th – March 20th  2016 – THIS REMAINS FLEXIBLE UNTIL WE ANNOUNCE VOLUNTEERS.

EXCHANGE ITINERARY(Subject to change)

Jan 31: Exchange Application Opens
Feb 4: Exchange Application Closes
Feb 10: Exchange Candidates Announced

TRIP 5 (Team Echo):

Feb 17-19th: Travel Days, Arrive in Mytilene International Airport, shutter to refugee crisis hq to check in and await further duty.
Feb 19-28: work alongside the Greek lifeguards assisting in safely responding to arriving Syrian refugees to the shores of Lesvos.
Feb 29th: Travel Home, or onward on your own!

TRIP 6 (Team Foxtrot):

Feb 27-29th: Travel Days, Arrive in Mytilene International Airport, shutter to refugee crisis hq to check in and await further duty.
Feb 29-Mar 11: work alongside the Greek lifeguards assisting in safely responding to arriving Syrian refugees to the shores of Lesvos.
Mar 11th: Travel Home, or onward on your own!

TRIP 7 (Team Golf):*

Mar 9-11th: Travel Day, Arrive in Mytilene International Airport, shutter to refugee crisis hq to check in and await further duty.
Mar 11-20th: work alongside the Greek lifeguards assisting in safely responding to arriving Syrian refugees to the shores of Lesvos.*
Mar 20th: Travel Home, or onward on your own!

*participants of this trip have the opportunity to extend their time based on need in the area.

We will assess follow up trips based on an as-needed basis. Trip dates remain flexible (except Team Echo) until final confirmation Feb 10th.

 

ISLA team 1: lifeguards from Canada, UK and the USA.

ISLA team 1: lifeguards from Canada, UK and the USA.

ISLA Team 2: lifeguards from Canada, Uk and the USA.

ISLA Team 2: lifeguards from Canada, Uk and the USA.

ISLA Team 3: lifeguards from Denmark, UK, Switzerland, and USA.

ISLA Team 3: lifeguards from Denmark, UK, Switzerland, and USA.

COSTS:
ISLA Donation: US$1,500
Airfare to Mytilene International Airport: Lesvos (this is a 50 minute flight from Athens other flight options throughout Europe also exist – from LAX this ranges from $750 to $1700).

INCLUDED IN THE ISLA SYRIAN REFUGEE AID DONATION:

  • Lodging for the duration of the project (this will involve camping and taking shifts through 24 hour periods).
  • Breakfast and Dinner during Volunteer Lifeguard Portions (Lunch is not included)
  • Transportation on the island of Lesvos
  • 1 Year ISLA Membership
  • International travelers insurance for the duration of the project
  • Full ISLA Uniform
  • Equipment Donation

Note: Priority will be given to applicants who are able to understand and speak Arabic and/or Greek fluently.

Apply-Now-Blue-Button

2016 Refugee Aid: Project Update

Posted on: January 23rd, 2016 by olin patterson No Comments
ISLA team 1: lifeguards from Canada, UK and the USA.

ISLA team 1: lifeguards from Australia, Turkey and the USA.

ISLA Team 2: lifeguards from Canada, Uk and the USA.

ISLA Team 2: lifeguards from Canada, Uk and the USA.

ISLA Team 3: lifeguards from Denmark, UK, Switzerland, and USA.

ISLA Team 3: lifeguards from Denmark, UK, Switzerland, and USA.

In fall of 2015, the ongoing crisis of refugees drowning and/or arriving desperate to the shores of Lesvos, Greece became a call to action for the Lifeguard Hellas team to head to the island. They set up relief stations and lifeguard services to attempt to decrease the drowning rates for desperate refugees. Their efforts have now directly affected tens of thousands of refugees that have arrived on shore.

ISLA has worked closely with Lifeguard Hellas for several years, and shortly after Lifeguard Hellas’ arrival to Lesvos, ISLA begin to organize volunteer teams to assist in the lifeguard operations needed for the areas. Since the beginning of January, ISLA has had 3 teams of ISLA guards represented by 7 countries (Australia, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, and the USA) on scene assisting with the arrival of over a 1,000 refugees. ISLA has worked alongside the Lifeguard Hellas in providing rescue equipment, rescue aid, medical assessment aid, and transport to the arriving refugees.

Lifeguard Hellas and ISLA are set up on shifts that allow for 24 hour, 7 days a week operations. The situation is becoming increasingly challenging with Lifeguard Hellas, and ISLA being one of the few organizations sanctioned by the Greek Coast Guard to respond in the water to arriving refugees. The winter weather has also been brutal for the area which has increased drownings due to high seas, and increased cases of hypothermia and related issues for arriving refugees. There is also reports that the situation will continue to worsen as the political climate in the Syrian region and surrounding areas continues to worsen as well.

Lifeguard Hellas is dedicated to providing lifeguards on site as long as the crisis ensues, and is currently making plans to have teams present through October of 2016. Those efforts can be supported by donating directly to the Lifeguard Hellas donation site that is run by the Lifeguard Hellas directors. Direct donations to ISLA can also be made to assist with off-setting and subsidizing the costs that our volunteers pay for travel, logistics, lodging, etc. You can make that donation by clicking the donate button on the top right of this page. We will also continue to organize volunteers to assist the Greek Lifeguards for as long as we can. In the coming days, ISLA will launch its second application process to provide additional resources to the area and ensure proper staffing exists for the remaining winter and coming spring.

We are thankful for the support of everyone, as well as the countless contributions around the world that have gone to supporting our ISLA volunteers as they have traveled to the region and have worked alongside the Lifeguard Hellas. We ask our fans and supporters to continue to share this project to ensure we continue to get needed volunteers to make a positive impact in the area.

Apply for this project NOW!

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To get daily updates on the project in Greece, follow the ISLA Facebook Page.

 

ISLA Medical Director Dr. Justin Sempsrott is Honored as Lifesaver Of The Year

Posted on: January 20th, 2016 by Henry Reyes No Comments

Justin Sempsrott
ISLA Medical Director, Dr. Justin Sempsrott, was awarded the title of 2015 Lifesaver of the Year by the National Drowning Prevention Alliance.  Justin was competing against nine other finalists; all nominated for their impact on the lives of others in a water-related capacity.

Justin has been an Ocean Lifeguard since 1996, and is also the Co-founder of Lifeguards Without Borders. He is also the Medical Director for Starfish Aquatics Institute and works as an Emergency Medicine and EMS Physician in North Carolina. During the month of December, ISLA supporters all over the world voted (9,475 votes to be exact) for Justin to secure his position as the 2015 Lifesaver of the Year.

Dr Sempsrott drowning lectures have become legendary. Not just for their fun delivery of serious information, but for the influence that they have had on actual rescues performed by attendees. For example, this case, written up in the international Emergency Medical Services magazine EMS World, describes the resuscitation of a 75 year old man who drowned at an unguarded beach and was dead when EMS arrived, but was successfully revived and able to return home to his family just four days later. The responding paramedic had just attended Dr Sempsrott lecture and said “We got him in the back of a pickup truck to take him to the ambulance, and I’m watching Justin’s presentation unfold right in front of me.”

Dr. Sempsrott has delivered his state of the art drowning resuscitation lecture to thousands of individuals, including healthcare professionals, Navy SEALS and Special Operations military personnel, hospital-based providers, EMS personnel, parents, and lifeguards around the world.

 “Through all of the presentations that I have done, I am most proud of the phone calls that I get days to years afterwards from lifeguards, paramedics, doctors, and other saying that they had an actual drowning patient, and my lecture played back in their mind and they knew what to do, and saved a life.”  – Justin

Below is video of Dr. Sempsrott drowning resuscitation lecture:

Justin will receive an all-expense paid trip to the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) Symposium in Phoenix, Arizona and use this experience as an opportunity to share ISLA’s humanitarian efforts,  mission, announce future projects, and network with foundations and potential sponsors.

To learn more about the NDPA, visit their website.

Thank you to all our supporters all over the world for voting for Justin and sharing ISLA’s mission!

ISLA’s Documentary Film Director Shares Her Syrian Refugee Experience Though a Series of facebook posts

Posted on: January 20th, 2016 by Henry Reyes No Comments

“If you can’t document it with pictures or film, then it didn’t happen!” Is one of ISLA’s main mottos when it comes to sharing our humanitarian efforts with our fans. ISLA was fortunate enough to have Filmmaker/Storyteller Devyn Bisson (Director of The Wave I Ride) and her crew (Katie Wise & Radley Angelo) join our first team of lifeguards that was deployed to Greece island of Lesvos to help with the Syrian refugee crisis.

Here is a recount of her experience shooting the film through a series of facebook posts:

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.39.16 PM Devyn Bisson Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.41.02 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.41.37 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.41.58 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.42.20 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.42.47 PM Devyn Bisson Director Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.44.48 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.45.14 PM Devyn Bisson Filmmaker Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.45.59 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.46.19 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.46.42 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.47.03 PM

Project Nicaragua: Semana Santa 2016

Posted on: January 19th, 2016 by islasurforg No Comments

Lifeguard Training
Get pumped for another exciting Semana Santa in Nicaragua!  Semana Santa in Nicaragua is a national holiday celebration traditionally associated with massive beach crowds, dangerous surf and ocean conditions, and multiple drowning events. This year we will be working alongside the Nicaraguan Red Cross on a Volunteer Lifeguard Mission during the holiday weekend.  During the volunteer Lifeguard Mission, both Nicaraguan guards and ISLA guards will live, share, and learn lifesaving techniques together!

Prior to lifeguarding with the Red Cross the team will have the opportunity to explore Granada together, exploring the lake Nicaragua Islands and touring the local volcanoes.  After Semana Santa, members of the team may be traveling to Playa Popoyo to surf their hearts out for a few days!  This is a great opportunity to visit a new place, meet incredible new friends, and share special skills that will help protect lives!

*There is no language requirement for this project, although Lifeguards who are bilingual (Spanish) and have training experience will be given priority in the application process.

ISLA Lifeguards

Tentative Project Itinerary

Monday, March 21st 2016: Arrive in Managua

Mar 22-23: Tour Granada

Mar 23: Travel to Beaches

Mar 24-26:  Lifeguard with Nicaraguan Red Cross, daily training sessions

Mar 27: Lifeguard ½ day, Travel to Managua or Popoyo to surf

March 28: Depart Managua or Surf Trip (Additional Cost)

Pre-Project Schedule

Feb 7th 2016:  Applications Close

Feb 15th 2016: Selected Volunteers Notified

Feb 19th, 2016: $100 non-refundable deposit and airfare purchase due

March 5th 2016: $750 non-refundable project donation due

ISLA Lifeguards

Costs

ISLA Project Donation: $850 USD
Nicaragua Entrance Fee: $10 USD (for U.S. Citizens, Varies by country)
Airfare to Managua, Nicaragua: Varies

*Each volunteer will be responsible for their own airfare to Managua ($400 – $700 from Los Angeles) and $850.00 that will cover housing, food, ground transport, uniform, and equipment donations for the project.  Housing and Touring in Granada is covered with this fee, the Surf trip to Popoyo is an additional cost.

INCLUDED IN THE ISLA PROJECT DONATION:

      • Lodging for the duration of the project
      • Meals during Volunteer Lifeguard Portions (approximately ½ the trip)
      • In country transportation
      • 1 Year ISLA Membership
      • International Travelers Insurance for the duration of the project
      • Full ISLA Uniform
      • Equipment Donation

Apply-Now-Blue-Button
Check out past ISLA projects in Nicaragua!