The 2011 surf season is ending and Surfers For Autism is having one last beach party!
On October 15, children with ASD and related disabilities will have a chance to ride the waves of Ft. Myers Beach at the 1st Annual Gulf 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 will be a day to remember!
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 20-30 minutes each.
WHAT: 1st Annual Gulf Coast Surfers For Autism
WHEN: Saturday, October 15, 2011
WHERE: Crescent Beach Park, 1100 Estero Blvd., Ft. Myers Beach, FL
COST: FREE but registration is required
HOW TO REGISTER: Please send an email describing your surfer (name, age, ability) to: email@example.com. Please put “Ft. Myers Beach” in the subject line.
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 18 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 attended our first Surfers for Autism in Jax Beach. I was convinced that our daughter wouldn’t stay for more than 15 minutes so I didn’t even bother with the sunblock. Well, 4 hours later we were still there, completely sunburned, and she had done three rides on the surfboard. She had the most amazing helpers who took her out. She sat up on the board each time and loved it! One of her helpers was an ESE teacher for a local school, who also surfs. I am humbled and grateful for the people who spend their days off to show the surf love to our children! We are now SFA groupies! ~Julie Bhatia
This was our first time ever going to a Surfers For Autism event and it was amazing! They made us feel so comfortable with everything from registration to teaching the children how to ride the Big Waves. They had 3 very patient adults helping our son achieve success in the water. They fed us all a wonderful lunch and kept everyone hydrated. There was nothing they hadn’t covered that I could have anticipated. Best of all was the smiles and sheer excitement on my son’s face as he rode the waves all by himself! And he was a grand prize raffle winner, receiving his very own surfboard! Priceless! Hats off to SFA for this fabulous service that they provide to Autistic children and their families!!! ~Gina Spong
Don’t have a child on the spectrum but still want to see what Surfers For Autism is all about? Then join our beach party as a volunteer and experience fun that will have you smiling all day!
Surfers for Autism is an event like no other for the volunteers and participants. As a volunteer you know that you are physically working hard lugging kids in and out of the water, balancing them on the boards, and catching them, however, you don’t feel any of that physical work. All you feel is the phenomenal energy and explosive levels of joy from the children, families, other volunteers and yourself. The joy, energy and memories that you will take away from this event is a gift unlike any other you will ever receive in your life. It touches you in a place so deep and lights a candle of hope, inspiration and perseverance that you carry with you throughout your life. ~Christine Generale
To register as a volunteer: please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Ft. Myers Beach” in the subject. A reply will be sent back to you with forms, information about positions and how surf lessons are conducted.
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 Ft. Myers Beach event.
See Surfers For Autism in action on YouTube.