ENCINITAS — Surf jousting competitions and other crazy antics notwithstanding, the eighth annual Switchfoot Bro-Am festival was backing a serious cause with the help of a crowd swelling to approximately 10,000 people at Moonlight Beach on June 16.
The funds raised from the day at the beach and an auction held prior gave StandUp For Kids a six figure boost in donations. Kim Goodeve-Green, center director for StandUp For Kids in Oceanside, said she was grateful for the money that will provide much-needed resources for the homeless youth the organization supports. “This is my favorite day of the year,” Switchfoot front man Jon Foreman told the enthusiastic crowd as the band took the stage for a set that included cameos on guitar by local surf legend Rob Machado and three-time world champion Tom Curren.
“I love this,” said Patrick Lanford, an Oceanside resident. “This is my third year and it amazes me that these guys are so popular and play a free concert on the beach in their hometown. It’s awesome.” The Grammy award-winning band hails from North County and maintains strong roots in the community despite a whirlwind touring and recording schedule. Switchfoot drummer Chad Butler said he was honored to play a concert that benefits such a good cause. “It feels good to live in a place where people want to see change and see change for the better,” he said. “This is an opportunity to tell their story, shine the spotlight on them (Stand Up for Kids).”
“The money raised is great, but for us (the volunteers) it is all about the kids,” Goodeve-Green said. “During this event our kids are able to be kids. Not homeless, not hungry and definitely not invisible.” Goodeve-Green attended the event with over 45 young people serviced by the nonprofit, all-volunteer organization with locations in Oceanside and San Diego. “The greatest benefit will be that maybe one kid will change their outlook of themselves and believe that they are special and that they can achieve anything,” she said.
“The best thing about this day is that the kids are somebody today. They’re filled with pride, not the dread that they’re living with so much of the time,” Goodeve-Green said. “They get to feel normal, even if it’s just for a few hours.” The organization assists young adults — with an average age of 18 — who are homeless or at-risk. The drop-in center provides meals and shower facilities three nights each week in addition to counseling and other resources. “They don’t have an opportunity to be kids because they’re always in survival mode,” Goodeve-Green said. “This gives them a chance to relax.” Several of the young people took advantage of surf lessons donated by Surfin’ Fire.
“I just love the look on a kid’s face when they catch that first wave,” Butler said. “These kids don’t get to the beach often,” he said. “It’s a joy, honor to be a part of it.”
Goodeve-Green said the money raised will go toward providing more resources for the homeless youth, whose numbers have dramatically increased in the last year. “One thing we really need more of that money can’t buy is volunteers,” she said. “With more people we could serve more meals each week and stay open to serve more kids.”
“The Bro-Am is just one day of the year,” Butler said,” but Stand Up (for Kids) can use your help all year long. If the event inspires just one person to volunteer or give back in some way then it’s even more meaningful.”
Evan Slater, senior vice president of marketing for Hurley, said the event is a good fit for the area. “The Bro-Am kicks off the summer well in San Diego,” he said. “It’s great to be a part of that and feel that energy.”
Aside from the powerhouse music performances of Switchfoot and other area bands, the event featured a team surfing competition as well as the debut of the Rob Machado Bro Junior, which allowed groms to compete using one of the boards in Machado’s eclectic quiver. The entry fee was a bag of gently used surf wear.
To learn more about StandUp for Kids or to volunteer, visit standupforkids.org.