LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge


The STOKED Gap Year is a demonstration project designed to create a pipeline of BIPOC surf instructors from marginalized and low-resourced communities committed to increasing access and opportunities for the youth in their communities while preparing for a successful career in action sports. The STOKED Gap Year combines an accelerated surfing program, youth development services, a coaching apprenticeship, and entrepreneurship development.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Access to Creative Industry Employment (sponsored by the Snap Foundation)

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Systemic environmental factors threaten the safety of BIPOC youth (e.g., police brutality, systemic, ecological, and environmental racism, etc...). By introducing BIPOC youth to challenging experiences in a safe community they know and love, they can become swimming and surfing instructors, teach low-income youth from their communities in LA County, and become social entrepreneurs. They will be able to improve their communities and diversify action sports to make them more inclusive for all. Despite the diversity in LA County, the field of surf instructors remains homogeneous. STOKED youth are intersectional: 97% self-identify as BIPOC, 93% are from low-income households, 4% self-identify as non-binary, 43% as girls/women, and 30% self-identify as members of the LGBTQIA communities. The diversity of the youth in LA County should be reflected in action sports to improve the sport and the global community.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Through a formative work experience inclusive of positive youth development, restorative practices, and social-emotional learning, athletes will have the support of local school educators, community-based organizations, national surfers and instructors, and national mentors to activate their knowledge of the STOKED core values (Success, Teamwork, Openness, Kudos, Energy, and Determination) to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, inclusion, belonging, and cultural competence within the action sports industry through surfing. STOKED has partnered with not-for-profit and for-profit organizations in California to provide STOKED students from LA County with surfing experiences. We found that we were limited by how many students we could serve because access to surf instructors was limited. Many of our students could not imagine themselves participating because they never saw surfers that looked like them. At most, we were able to provide four days of surfing during the months of July because of the limited availability of surf instructors. If we had access to surfers during the school year, we could seamlessly integrate the experience throughout the year, as we do with skateboarding.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

STOKED's Gap Year demonstration project will serve as a model for diversifying the professional action sports industry through careers and increase access to high-quality surfing programs for historically marginalized and under-served youth. With our projections, we could serve up to 500 students annually with 2-3 surfing experiences. For those interested in continuing to develop their skills, we can connect them to other BIPOC led organizations to work with.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

The measure of success: 1. Recruit and retain 8 athletes for the first cohort. 2. Retain 100% of athletes. 3. Use the 8 athletes to deliver services to 500 students participating in STOKED afterschool programs throughout the school year 4. Provide each athlete with 200 hours of quality surf instruction and a coaching apprenticeship. 5. Increased surf instructional skills measured using National Association of Sports and Physical Education metrics, knowledge of marine ecosystems and impacts aligned with Next Generation Ocean Literacy Standards, and social-emotional skills measured along standardized CASEL metrics. 6. Both qualitative data and quantitative data will be collected through pre- and post-surveys, skills assessments, and a focus group. 7. Create digital content, including a 15-minute film to share the story of the Gap Year, with the impact on students and athletes.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 8

Indirect Impact: 500