On September 24, children with ASD and related disabilities will have a chance to ride the waves of Jacksonville Beach at the 2nd Annual North Coast Surfers For Autism. If your child is at least four years old and affected by autism, Surfers for Autism invites you and your family to spend the day in the sun, sand and surf with other families in the Autism community. Relax and revel in the excitement as 2-4 skilled and trained volunteers safely guide your child into the water for an experience that changes lives. Families also enjoy a free catered lunch, live music, and raffles. It’s a huge beach party!
The event lasts all day and families are welcome to arrive at any time, though its best to arrive as early as possible to get multiple chances to surf and to take advantage of other activities set up for the families. Upon arrival to the beach, look for the Surfers For Autism tent to sign in and your surfer will receive a colored wrist band. This wrist band indicates which group the surfers will participate in; when the colored flag that matches the color of your wrist band goes up, it’s your turn to surf. Surfing sessions typically last about 20 minutes each.
WHAT: 2nd Annual North Coast Surfers For Autism
WHEN: Saturday, September 24, 2011
WHERE: Jacksonville Beach
1515 N. 1st St.
COST: FREE but registration is required
HOW TO REGISTER: Please send an email to: email@example.com
SUBJECT: Jax Beach
Describe your surfer (name, age, ability).
You will receive an email response with registration forms and a release of liability agreement to complete and bring to surfer registration on the day of the event.
Please note: The whole family and friends are welcome to the beach, but Surfers For Autism can only register the children with special needs and allow them to surf.
Surfers For Autism, a non-profit organization based in South Florida, is dedicated to unlocking the potential of children and young adults with special needs by introducing them to the sport of surfing in a safe and welcoming environment. They seek to fulfill this mission while supporting advocacy for autism issues and scientific research. Surfers For Autism wishes to eliminate stigma through public awareness and education, and to unite communities through volunteerism. They provide children on the spectrum an opportunity to interact with typical peers and amaze families and spectators with their capabilities.
Led by Don and Kim Ryan, Surfers For Autism has sponsored 17 events along the Florida coast since their first event in May 2008. It is estimated between 3,000 and 3,500 children and young adults have participated, and parents are amazed and moved at the transformations that occur within their children, sometimes after just one surfing experience.
“We have been very blessed having the SFA family in our lives. We have gone to several of these events and every one of them have been a lot of fun, not only for our son, John, but we, the parents, have enjoyed them as much as he has. Once these kids get on the surf boards, something magical seems to connect with them! I’ve seen kids with extreme autism and with major behavior problems become so much more calm and relaxed when they are on the boards and in the water. The volunteers that help out with our kids seem to get a lot out of it as well. They have been AWESOME and are very much appreciated for what they do! If you have never taken your child with autism to this event, do whatever you can to get to the last remaining events of this year!” – Becky Rose
“This is our 4th SFA event. It gets better and more exciting every time. If you could judge this event just by the excitement and looks on the kids’ faces, it would be a gold medal! But if you add in the generosity of the volunteers and the relief/tears/awe of the parents it would be the Olympics, Super Bowl and the World Cup all rolled into one.” – Danielle Wright
“Our 6 year old son has attended three Surfers For Autism events in the last year. My son used to be afraid of water, especially getting his face wet (due to sensory issues) and the surfing helped him overcome that fear. The SFA events are so well organized and everything is free for the participants. The wonderful coordinators, donators, and volunteers all make it happen. It is amazing to see the kids’ faces while they are on the surf boards, they are so full of confidence and joy. It is a magical experience and I am very thankful we were able to participate in these events while we lived in Florida.” – Cyndi Newton
Surfers For Autism has plans to expand to other states (Tybee Island, GA was their first out of state event location this past July). In addition to surfing, the organization raises funds to aid in autism research and advocacy through raffles, donations and other fundraisers during the off-season.
To learn more about Surfers For Autism, please click here.
Visit Surfers For Autism on Facebook or learn more about the Jax Beach event.
See Surfers For Autism in action on YouTube.