We hope to continually show kids the love of Jesus Christ through taking them on adventures and walking alongside them through the good and the bad. This is our definition of fun, and it is also our definition of love - bringing Jesus to kids through Community, Restoration, and Adventure.
We first entered the community of Oak View and had the idea to take kids surfing. We walked around knocking on doors in hopes that we might eventually have the opportunity to make an impact on kids lives. That year we met 8 kids and started our first surf camp out of a tiny garage from a local resident. The focus of our surf camp was teaching kids not only how to surf, but about Jesus Christ.
Each Tuesday for an entire year we met at the Oak View Elementary School for an afterschool Bible Study. During this time, we really began to learn more about the community of Oak View and truly developed a sense of friendship with those that lived in the neighborhood. At the end of the year we did our second surf camp. This time we had 30 kids attend, and we decided to form the non-profit Common Ground.
We officially received the keys to our warehouse in the winter of 2015. We approached the year with much excitement but also knew that we had our work cut out for us. With much of our time focused on getting the appropriate permits and zoning requirements taken care of, we still managed to grow in our numbers of kids attending as well as our impact in the community of Oak View. In 2015 we had our third surf camp and afterwards introduced our second program called Meat-Up Monday. This was an amazing launching point to not only continue the discipleship of the youth we had attending our surf camp, but their friends and families as well.
In 2016, Common Ground grew at a rapid pace. It was this year when we built our skate park as well as our soccer field. We now had an amazing volunteer base that was focused on bringing the love of Christ to the Jr. High and High School kids that entered our facility. It was during this year where we introduced four more programs; Grounded, High School Hangs, Skate Nite, and middle school Bible Study. Now having a fully operational after-school program with multiple programs running each week we began to see the fruit of our consistency in loving our community.
This year we had the opportunity to start our 7th program called Soccer Night. This was an awesome program dedicated to reaching local soccer players which sprung out of our volunteer leaders. It was during this year when we also began to partner with more Churches in the surrounding areas and we collectively were able to do a lot more in the community as a whole. Our middle school boys went on their first winter trip to Big Bear during this time and it was amazing to see multiple kids accept Christ for the first time in their lives.
We saw hundreds of kids continuously walk through our doors each week to experience the love of Christ. We completed our 6th summer surf camp where 45 kids attended each week to hear about the Gospel of Christ and it was incredible to reflect on where God had taken our organization since entering the community back in 2013. Each of our seven programs have grown not only in the number of students attending, but in the impact they are having on the community as a whole. Our High School program went on their first ever camp as well, taking a group of students to Zion National Park. At the end of this year we had our first fundraiser in four years, and we were blown away by the support of our community - we raised double the amount we expected! This will financially support our efforts to continue bringing the hope of Jesus Christ to at-risk youth in the Oak View community in 2019.