About OAC

Our MISSION is to educate and inspire youth and adults to be world changers in the challenge to heal and protect the ocean.

Our GOALS are two-fold:

  • To challenge participants to make changes in their lives and others, to protect and preserve the ocean.
  • To encourage participants to take a personal responsibility and become advocates for the ocean.


  • To provide marine education to children and adults.
  • Provide hands-on opportunities of ocean education and awareness to organizations around the world so they may footprint the OAC mission.

Letter from Captain Susie Campbell


“Dear friends of the Ocean Awareness Challenge,
Our ocean is sick and needs our help!

We all know our ocean has been facing some very critical issues on a number of fronts. Overfishing, slaughtering of sharks, ocean acidification, dying coral reefs, ocean dead zones, mercury pollution, a swirling soup of plastic called the “Garbage Patch”, climate change and geo-engineering to name just a few.

Very few people talk about the disastrous state of our ocean and its desperate need for urgent attention, care and healing. The ocean is a gift to us, an inheritance for our children and future generations, and a life support system for our planet. Without a healthy ocean we will not be able to survive! And without being good stewards of this precious gift, we have nothing to leave our children.

Every other breath we take comes from oxygen produced by the ocean. Every time we sit at the table for a meal of fish tacos we have to ask ourselves…where did this fish come from, how was it raised, what did it eat, how much mercury has it been exposed to and how does this food from our polluted ocean effect my health and the health of our children?”

“Sailors know how much joy we receive from the beauty of our ocean. It’s our last frontier, an open and expansive place that instantly clears the cobwebs of our crowded minds and transports us into a world of peace and tranquility. It heals our brokenness, encourages us and lifts our spirits. It challenges us and creates a platform for teamwork and the building of friendships. The importance of the ocean to the human spirit, is beyond measure.

Well, now is the time, like never before, to give back to this planet and her ocean that we love so much. We have been working very hard at creating an event that will bring ocean-loving people together to make a change!

The Ocean Awareness Challenge will be held on Saturday, November 4th, 2017 from 4:30-9:30 pm, at the Irvine Bowl, Festival of Arts, in Laguna Beach, CA. Adult attendees will hear presentations about ocean conservation and healing from experts in marine ecology, biology and science.”

Best regards,
Captain Susie Campbell
Ocean Awareness Challenge

Wishes Do Come True

The Ongoing Story of the Ocean Awareness Challenge

“I wish you would use all means at your disposal to ignite public support…to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet.”
– Sylvia Earle, renowned marine biologist, explorer, author and lecturer

After hearing those words during a recording of Sylvia Earle’s 2009 TED Talk, Susie Campbell got an Idea. The avid sailor and licensed captain assembled a crew of sailing friends in her Laguna Beach living room and read to them a children’s book by Kobi Yamada entitled What Do You Do with an Idea? Then she shared how Sylvia’s wish had given her the idea to create the Ocean Awareness Challenge to spread awareness about the plight of our oceans.

Planting the Seed

Susie’s friends loved her Idea, and they soon set sail for the Mountain and Sea Adventure Camp on Catalina Island, where the camp’s CEO and Susie’s long-time friend Annie MacAulay was waiting to show them around. After a weekend of exploration and education, including insights from retired marine biologist Norm Cole, the group became convinced that this rustic camp on the shore of beautiful Emerald Bay would be the ideal place to plant the first Ocean Awareness Challenge.

An Idea Takes Root

Susie, Valerie Rhodes and KC Matlock were having lunch one afternoon to celebrate KC getting her Captain’s license, when Susie expressed her desire to find a non-profit to help ensure the first Ocean Awareness Challenge would not be the last. Valarie, who was the commodore of the newly formed Women’s Sailing Association of Orange County, saw a perfect marriage and offered to let Susie run the OAC under the WSA-OC.

Cultivating Success

A small army of volunteers meeting once a month in Susie’s living room, where it all began, spent nearly a year planning, organizing and agonizing over endless details that go along with staging an event like OAC. And none could have imagined that so much work would wind up being so much fun…and would have such an impact on so many lives. On September 9, more than 200 ocean lovers sailed into Emerald Bay for a weekend of fun and fellowship, and to gain deeper understanding of the state of our oceans and what they mean to our very survival.

Feeding Future Growth

The huge success of OAC 2016 was very encouraging, but the future depends on finding a permanent home for OAC. A place where we can put down deep roots that will yield an annual harvest of enlightened individuals who will spread awareness that will help restore the Blue Heart of the Earth.

With the help of Laguna Beach artist and ocean photographer Patsee Ober, OAC 2017 will enjoy the support of Santa Ana-based OneOC, a group dedicated to helping nonprofits become as effective and efficient as they are passionate about their missions. Start a commotion to save the ocean. Join Ocean Awareness Challenge 2017.

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