Chill’s Challenge by Choice

Chill’s Challenge by Choice

When was the last time you thought about your progression towards growing into the person you want to be? How long has it been since you’ve taken stock of your successes and setbacks on that journey? Do you know exactly what support you need to excel and reach your personal goals? At the Chill Foundation we work with youth from marginalized identities and backgrounds in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, and a growing number of European countries to identify and ignite their personal progression through experiential learning opportunities and the power of boardsports.

Chill is a positive youth development program where boardsports become a vehicle for empowerment. Revolving around a core value-driven curriculum, Chill programs consist of experiential learning activities, reflection, and discussion, paired with board sport lessons. Chill’s six core values (respect, courage, persistence, patience, pride, responsibility) provide youth with a foundation and framework for learning and growth, supported and enhanced through on-board progression and adult mentorship. Chill removes all barriers to accessing boardsports by providing youth with everything they need to get after it, at absolutely no cost. New skills gained through boardsport progression and core-value exploration are then directly applied to everyday life, challenging youth to step out of their comfort zone – both on and off their board.

Everything we do at Chill revolves around providing experiences that lead to learning. In our everyday lives we take part in all kinds of experiences, but it is the intentional selection of experiences that lead to growth. Therefore at Chill we strive to design and select our experiences with that intention in mind. What is an experience at Chill? Doing an icebreaker at the beginning of program, connecting with new people, taking part in the core value activity for the day, learning how to snowboard, skateboard, surf, or stand-up paddleboard!

Challenge by choice defines our culture. It’s all about creating a community that is emotionally safe for all participants. Taken literally, participants are presented with challenges and are given the choice to accept at the level they feel comfortable. It’s not a yes or no, it’s a how and a what. How do you choose to accept this challenge? What do you feel comfortable with?

Every single day at Chill, we challenge youth to step outside their comfort zone and into their growth zone. From one program day to the next, as youth engage in new experiences and overcome challenges and fears, their comfort zone expands. Pretty soon, what was their growth zone is now a part of their comfort zone. And their growth zone is now new territory, which a few weeks ago may have been in their danger zone. It’s all about incremental growth, knowing personal limits, and having the support to make that choice.

Challenge by choice is introduced on day one and revisited every day of program to ensure that youth understand the power of this choice – at Chill and in their daily lives. Through personal goal setting, positive encouragement, and the elimination of imposed completion standards, challenge by choice becomes a cultural norm and a guiding principle for individual growth and achievement.

We know that the global pandemic has had, and continues to have, outsized effects on the communities Chill serves around the world. We have heard directly from our agency partners and the youth we jointly serve that many kids are struggling with a lack of structure, a lack of movement in their lives, and real anxiety about a very uncertain future. These feelings of restriction and the associated negative mental health outcomes are exacerbated for youth that have experienced trauma in their lives. Chill is adjusting our curriculum to address the needs of our participants, ensuring that our programs are a strong link in the overall chain of support that our youth so desperately need.

Chill is looking forward to 2021 as a year of growth and recovery. We are committed to rapidly expanding our programs in Europe, including the registration and launch of Chill UK. For twenty-five years we have harnessed the power of positive youth development paired with boardsports and we are looking forward to being an integral part of young people’s recovery from a challenging 2020.

Chill relies on donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations around the world. We are currently registered as a non-profit, or registration is in process, in 10 countries, with several more to get underway shortly. Please contact Chill to learn more about donating in your specific country. Chill also frequently has mentoring and board service opportunities available depending on country-specific and program needs. Please follow Chill Foundation on social media and visit for up-to-date information and opportunities to contribute to our impactful work.

Thank you for your interest and support! YOU can be a part of Chill’s bright future!

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