Bro-Am 4LMag September 12, 2015 Featured Headlines From their catchy pop songs and spirited live shows to their profound, authentic lyrics, we are all familiar with the magic that is Switchfoot. With their 2003 hit “Meant to Live,” the group ascended to stardom and went on to win a Grammy eight years later. Their biggest hit, however, has not been produced in a studio or on stage. Rather, Switchfoot’s greatest success has come through the miracles they have produced through their charity work. In mid-July, the 11th annual Switchfoot Bro-Am once again showcased the group’s commitment to the San Diego community and local children’s charities. Through funds raised at a pre-event auction night soiree, an evening concert at the Bro-Am Studios, and the Switchfoot Bro-Am event at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, the group supports various charities such as Feeding America, StandUp For Kids and Doors of Change: Solving Youth Homelessness, to name a few. When asked what draws him to these particular charities, Switchfoot bassist Tim Foreman responded, “The central focus is youth. All of these charities are working to combat different struggles that our youth face. [They’re] working to solve the problem from different angles.” It was evident that Switchfoot’s dedication to youth programs resonated with the attendees of the auction night soiree. “I’m looking around and there’s all these kids that are future surfers and future musicians … and ambassadors of all the good, healthy living. So anything I could do to be a part of it, I wanted to contribute,” explained Todd Glaser, professional surf photographer. Along with Todd’s extraordinary art being auctioned, attendees bid on a wide range of incredible items, with the most-coveted prize being a once-in-a-lifetime surf session with Rob Machado and the guys from Switchfoot with Todd shooting it all. Whether they were the lucky winner of the highly sought-after prize or one of the many who won one or more of the other amazing prizes, everyone won when Rob Machado and Switchfoot played a set as a thank you to all those who attended. As a result of the funds raised that evening, it would not be surprising to see a young band or artist join their benefactor on stage at next year’s auction soiree. Along with the charities mentioned earlier, Switchfoot has also established and supports a non-profit music school, Bro-Am Studio, where youth can express themselves through the various mediums of art and music. Bro-Am Studio is “providing music as an outlet for kids to connect with other kids that feel the way they do and have a way of expressing the things that are inside,” according to Foreman. The positive impact was apparent when local artists, such as Caroline Corn, performed at the Bro-Am Studio the evening before the Switchfoot Bro-Am and shared beautiful music and authentic lyrics. “I’m excited to see it launch … like I’m excited to see the lessons actually start and everything take off,” explained Ms. Corn when asked about the opening of the studio. The excitement around the Switchfoot Bro-Am “week” intensified with each event and overflowed into the main event at Moonlight Beach. Complemented by the day’s gorgeous weather, warm water and fun surf, local food vendors and talented music acts kept the more than 14,000 grommets and adults stoked. “For me, it marks the pinnacle of summer,” said Chris Cote, the event MC, with a huge smile. “There’s nothing like it. I go to tons of surf events and it’s serious … and gets aggro. And this event … the fact that you have to go switch (opposite to your natural stance) on a wave is the great equalizer and it just makes it a thousand times more fun than any other surf contest.” To add to the smiles and light-hearted surf contest, Chris Ahrens introduced “surf jousting” several years back. Dressed as gladiators and armed with padded paddles, these valiant surfers battle the ocean and each other until one man is left standing. But at the end of the day, it’s the five young men standing on the stage who are the winners. As a result of their efforts, Switchfoot has created a positive, communal event, “that delivers what the `60s promised,” according to Ahrens. Or, in Chris Cote’s words, “it’s one of those events where even if you don’t care about surfing, if you don’t care about Switchfoot, if you don’t care about anything, you still want to go because you get that insane community vibe.” “The Bro-Am exists because of other people’s support,” Foreman says. “We’ve been blown away by how supportive San Diego has been. There are tons of ways to get involved, whether that’s through donations, financial support or just showing up. There are ways to get involved with Broam.org.” And that’s exactly the miracle that Switchfoot has created with the Switchfoot Bro-Am: They have organized a community of miracle-makers that positively impact the world around them and particularly the youth of San Diego. To get involved and make a positive impact, please visit Broam.org.