Valpo Surf Project
Meet Carolina! We would like to give a warm welcome to one of VSP's new team members
Carolina Ortiz Pavez, Valpo Surf Project’s Program Coordinator, sits and recalls one of her favorite moments during her time with the organization. Having completed only six months at the organization, she still finds it difficult to sift through the many moments that bring her joy. She ultimately lands on a memory of an environmental excursion, when the kids from Laguna Verde Elementary School visited the wetlands of Mantagua. Everyone had a lot of energy but “en este tiempo tan rapido ellos lograron bajar su ritmo y empezar observar” [in this fast paced time we live in, they were able to slow down and begin observing].
This core memory for Carolina reveals the many reasons why she initially came to work at VSP. A teacher at heart and by training, she takes pride in the fact that the organization fosters a wide range of skills and experiences through an open and loving approach. As the Program Coordinator [Coordinadora de Programación], Carolina is able to facilitate and partake in environmental outings, surf workshops, and other educational spaces that promote the intellectual and physical development of VSP participants.
From Carolina’s perspective, one of the most important qualities of VSP is their emphasis on environmental education and experiential learning. In Valparaiso, kids are not often given the opportunity to enjoy and learn from nature. The various workshops that take place outside, including surfing, all facilitate a greater connection and respect between humans and nature.
Carolina knows well how the outdoors promote a stronger connection with the natural world, because this is exactly what happened for her on the beach of Bucalemu, Chile when she was a child. Bucalemu is a beach on Chile’s 4,000 mile long coastline, and it is where her connection with, and respect for, nature blossomed. It has a beautiful wetland area where wildlife gathers, including birds. It is here, too, that her love of birding began to take root — an activity she still does today outside of work.
She is always eager and excited to walk with students in their outdoor experiences facilitated by VSP, and is constantly developing programs and workshops that allow VSP students to grow in conversation with the natural world. “Educación es todo mi vida” [education is my life], she said, and her contribution to this facet of VSP’s work has been invaluable. VSP is incredibly lucky to have her, and excited to see how programming expands under her care.