The first Toa o le Tai program was designed, developed and implemented in 2012 in American Samoa under a Community Services Block Grant  through the Department of Commerce and in partnerships with the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa and the Department of Education. Since that initial launch the initiative's vision and goals have been implemented in one-day, one week and semester long programs from Monterey, CA to Camden, NJ.  The intent is to focus on underserved segments of the community and engage youth in an empowering program that benefits their community and our oceans.  Components of the program encompass sessions that combine outreach and education on land as well as coaching and training in the pool and open water {When available}.  Participants may have the opportunity to safely be in an open water environment through swimming, paddling and team building activities.  A key education and action component is teaching participants about issues facing their local waters and developing individual and community actions that address those challenges.


Each program regardless of duration endeavors to accomplish the following goals that are shared by any successful community service initiative:

  • Capacity Building – Teaching skills that are required for some jobs and highly valuable in others:  swimming ability, knowledge of the aquatic environment, leadership, responsibility, communication, problem solving, working with others
  • Increased Quality of Life – Health and well being
  • Community Action – Ocean conservation, Service to community
  • Community Partnerships – Developing resources and creating potential for success through relationships with schools, agencies, businesses, non-profits and individuals
  • Improved Health and Physical Development – Aquatic sports and recreation as lifelong activities


A sustainable ocean and community focused initiative for middle school students that utilizes surf life saving skills and ocean conservation actions to protect the health of our local communities and our oceans while also introducing educational, health, fitness and career opportunities for the youth participants as well as their program mentors and leaders.  {In the US the in-school program is using the name, "Legion of Ocean Hereos."}