The Founders of Project WOO met as Peace Corps volunteers in Honduras, Central America in 2004. Nick Mucha and Adam Monaghan both lived and worked in Honduras for over two years, where they dedicated their time to a variety of local development projects including: eco-tourism, potable water systems, strategic planning, HIV/AIDS education, empowering women’s groups, grant proposal design, and environmental education campaigns.
During their service they took multiple bus trips to southern Nicaragua to surf and visit friends who owned a surf camp. While enjoying the bountiful goodness of southern Nicaragua, they both noticed the obvious impact that surf tours, surf camps and surf culture are having on small, isolated coastal communities. Largely undisturbed by foreigners in the past, these towns are now frequently visited and inhabited by surfers from around the world.
Despite the presence of Western surfers in these impoverished regions there was no coordinated effort by surfers to give back to the local communities. Nick and Adam were shocked that surfers were not more interested in helping the local communities address their many needs. They felt that surfers should take advantage of their unique opportunity as cultural ambassadors and as such use their resources and energy to support the very communities that embrace the visiting surfersTrue believers that surf travel should benefit the areas it visits, Nick and Adam decided that they possessed the passion, understanding and skills necessary to change this situation.
Drawing upon their rich experience as community organizers in the Peace Corps, the pair resolved to bring their vision to these towns that were being exposed to surfing and surf culture. Nick and Adam set out to show the world how surfers can be catalysts for positive, lasting change in these remote regions.
In 2006 the duo officially set out to make their vision a reality when they created Project Wave of Optimism – the first organization of its kind. Today Project WOO is an incorporated 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in California with a field office in Nicaragua.