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This work, is for me, what the developer in a dark room is. It is constantly helping me realize who I am and who I am becoming, slowly bringing into focus the true colors of myself.” – Heather Sills, Surfing The Creative® Participant

Melissa, I wanted to share with you that I have been thinking about you a lot lately. I’ve been reflecting on what the biggest turning points in my life have been, and I think 10 years later, it’s really obvious to me that being a participant in Surfing the Creative® completely changed my whole world … Right before the camp and during, I took myself off both antidepressants and I stopped smoking pot. Ten years later, I’ve gone back to neither, and have had a really wonderful life that I’m very grateful for. …. I love and support you and your work and am so grateful that its part of my story!” – C. G

The day Melissa came, it was fun for me and I was so excited. I have never meet an American before in my life. When I heard her English, it was different to how we speak. She told us how women grow and stuff. I love Melissa so much and thankful for the advise, teaching and all the things she shared with us. We learned so much about our bodies and the information I got changed my life. I discovered I have changed as a girl. Melissa was very kind, nice and open, the most part that I loved was making the doll. When she gave us the biscuits, she told us we have GOLDEN HEARTS and we must be nice and kind to our bodies and other people, even if we don’t know them. Now I know I have a GOLDEN HEART like Melissa.” – Zizo, 13 years old / South Africa

Never before in the history of humanity has juvenile violence reached the proportions we now face. Where do we turn for the real solutions? Melissa Michael’s is one of the few people with a vital understanding of what young people are saying to us. Her presence and creativity catalyze the spirit of youth and direct it with a positive force.” – Stephanie Mines, Ph.D., author of Sexual Abuse / Sacred Wound and The Dreaming Child. Founder and Director of The TARA Approach for the Resolution of Shock and Trauma.

Melissa is like a midwife, assisting souls through the threshold of adolescence. I can’t recommend this program strongly enough. This program helps young people remember whom they really are and what they want to do in life. It is a gift they will be able to draw on forever.” – Rahima Baldwin Dancy, Midwife, Waldorf Educator, and author of You are Your Child’s First Teacher

Melissa’s vision, energy, tenacity, and impact are powerful. She works tirelessly in creating a community where each person is honored regardless of ethnicity, gender, income, social status, or intellectual talent. By tapping into this educational process offered by Surfing the Creative ®, one is able to reach a level of knowing that is life changing. Her work bridges internal wounds with true gifts. When we are open to our own vulnerability, we can grow in our compassion for all.” – Bruce Rose, Co-Founder & Director, Men’s Eagle Council and High School Counselor for 32 years

This work has deepened my honesty with myself and the world around me…My faith in something greater than myself and my openness have deepened and will forever support me in my process of blossoming and thriving on Planet Earth.” – Jessie Ryan, Surfing The Creative® Participant

Melissa’s work is changing the face of education, giving the youth a much needed rite of passage program in a culture that asks us to grow up very quickly – often before we are ready. Melissa covers topics that are most necessary to healthy individuals and not talked about in complete ways in the education that I received, such as: emotion, creativity and sexuality. She helped lay the foundation for my truth to be brought forth into the world. Melissa calls to the youth to step into their creative potential and it is through work such as this that the world may be transformed. She asks us to think for ourselves and feel into our bodies our truth and the effects of our actions. She is not advocating a way to transcend our humanity, but a way of life that truly embraces being human, fully embodied.” – Arlyn Heideman, Surfing the Creative Participant, Youth Leader

Melissa Michaels’ approach to working with my daughter transcends description in academic or pedagogical terms. The heartfelt care that Melissa brings to her work produces results, which are in the realm of magic. For no reason other than Melissa spotted my daughter in extreme psychological pain, she skillfully opened the channels for my daughter to finally begin a path of personal growth and health. Years of “talk therapy” seemed to have little effect other than to thicken my daughter’s shell and attitude of despair. Melissa stepped in with heart and opened a window. ‘Body-centered education’ has a power to heal that our society is finally beginning to understand and utilize. Melissa’s work is a harbinger of this new era of hope.” – Cameron Powers, Father of a Surfing The Creative® Participant

Melissa is a remarkable woman – dynamic, visionary, compassionate, intelligent, intuitive. Over these past years I have witnessed her continue to weave a broad array of threads into a singular vision: To create an understanding of the impact of personal biography on behavior and health, to use movement as an exploratory tool in that investigation, and to ultimately move participants beyond the limitations of their own biographic stories toward an embrace of their fullest creative potential. As an apprentice in her yearlong program, I achieved a deeper understanding of the physical, psychosocial, emotional and spiritual self not only as an individual but also as a physician. This program of study provided a new body-centered framework from which I view illness, wellness and the approach to healing. I carry this information with me into every patient encounter, and am a more insightful practitioner because of it.” – Andrea Girman, MD, MPH, Surfing The Creative® Participant

Melissa’s programs are remarkable for a number of reasons beyond the use of dance as a means for education and self discovery. First and foremost, dancing with Melissa is the doorway into the experience of community. For many youth, this sense of belonging and feeling the commitment of adults around them is the ground for developing their own sense of commitment to themselves and their world. Likewise, the programs are an opportunity to explore the creative process in all forms. Participants discover new strengths and a sense of agency, which is essential in these times. Melissa herself is welcoming, boundlessly creative and flexible in her work to draw in and support youth, and fierce in her expectation of excellence. The programs are an opportunity to delve into personal history, experience healthy relationship, develop a connection with spirit, set clear boundaries and intentions…and move on. With this combined focus on personal empowerment and commitment to communities near and far, Melissa has fostered a dynamic and rich community which is, in my experience, unparalleled.” – Julie Dolin, MA, LPC, ADTR

Apprenticing with Melissa has given my daughter powerful tools with which to fare the challenges of living authentically. Melissa’s depth, compassion and playful spirit have been an invaluable support to my daughter through these change-filled teenage years. For me, as a parent, she has provided profound support, becoming part of a team to mentor adolescents into adulthood.” – Dee Moulton, Mother of a Surfing The Creative® Participant

Melissa Michael’s work is transformational. She is profound, compassionate, funny and inspirational. I have seen her create a powerful space for people to move inwards, face their fears, and transform in movement and being. Surfing The Creative ® with her has given me great joy, energy, insight and has allowed me to see myself and my patients in a new perspective.” – Jeffrey Dann, Ph.D., Dipl.AC (NCCA), Surfing The Creative® Participant

I am always enlivened and enriched through my experience with Wildlife Productions…It was amazing to personally witness Melissa’s work which called forth the brilliance of each individual while simultaneously cultivating a strong experience of a conscious caring community…My son has been an apprentice to Melissa for the past several years. Through his work with Melissa, he has undergone a profound initiation into manhood. He has been given the space to explore the depths of his emotions and has received resources to ground and integrate his vast range of experiences. Most importantly he has taken great strides in the journey to discover his authentic self.” – Katherine Roske, Mother of a Surfing The Creative® Participant

What attracted me to the camp was Melissa’s dedication, passion, and conviction to create spaces for young people to authentically and creatively develop a greater sense of self through movement. What I could not fathom was the depth to which I would develop and grow…Melissa’s work has shifted my paradigm of life. I have walked away from her workshops with a greater connection with the world…Working with Melissa as an apprentice youth leader I have witnessed a teacher shapeshift a group from being scared, intimidated and curious to being empowered, confident and willingly vulnerable. Melissa is a rare educator who can truly influence the transformation of young people. She has the capacity to offer young people so often what we are missing, which is a safe and creative space. She also has the wisdom and experience to guide us back to our true selves.” – Blythe Massey, Surfing The Creative® Participant, Women’s Youth Leader

Melissa is a real teacher with innate skills that cannot be taught; I have seen her teach the most chary of students. She responds to every situation in totally original and appropriate ways.” – Kyle Donovan, Surfing The Creative® Participant

Melissa goes the distance, engaging fully in her work as she mentors our emerging leaders. She is a beacon of light for those of us seeking deeper understanding of the body and the human experience. She is a guide, helping us find our way out of the wilderness so that we can share our medicine with our community and in turn the world.” – Jeremy Roske, Surfing The Creative ® Participant, Youth Leader

I am thankful for Melissa’s workshop, I learn things I didn’t know. I want to say to Melissa she must teach more girls in our community, most of us don’t know these things and our mom won’t talk to us about them. I love that day and now I know about menstruation. I love you Melissa, I think you will come to us to teach us more things we don’t know.” – Lisa, 11 years old / South Africa

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