Volunteer of the Week, Ryan Kolynych
Ryan is one with water – whether swimming through it or surfing on it. He swam competitively in high school, including a heat against a new kid on the scene named Michael Phelps. Ryan went on to All-American Honorable Mention swimming honors at Emory University in Atlanta. Despite the high level of athletic competition and challenging academic curriculum, Ryan took the time to share his passion for swimming with others:
I coached a Special Olympics team as a service project. We helped train the kids, get them ready for meets … just had a good time …. It was cool to see the smile on their faces when they’re just swimming around.
After graduation, Ryan headed west to the Pacific and the amazing surfing around San Francisco. We met Ryan at one of his favorite surf spots – Ocean Beach. He’d noticed an online post about a beach clean-up sponsored by the local Surfrider Foundation chapter.
Representing 50,000 members and over 70 local chapters in the US alone, the Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans, waves and beaches for all people. The beach clean-up Ryan participated in was one of 600 clean-ups that Surfrider chapters across the country have held recently.
I’ve surfed this beach a couple of times. I definitely noticed it was kind’ve dirty … It’s pretty ridiculous how many cigarette butts you pick up on the beach … You’d think there wouldn’t be that many, but there are a ton.
Anticipating heavy summer beach traffic, the San Francisco Surfrider Chapter is hosting another beach clean-up at two different spots on Ryan’s Ocean Beach this Sunday July 5. If you’re not in the area or out of town for the holiday, find a local Surfrider chapter to get involved.
As a reminder, to find other volunteer opportunities or to register your own volunteer project, visit the new government site, Serve.gov. If you haven’t yet, see Ryan in action cleaning Ocean Beach along with several other incredible volunteers in our Season One trailer.