As we are now firmly entrenched in vacation mode (read: messing up a house that’s not ours) – I’m starting to form my thoughts from our recent Surfers Healing Camp.
Surfers Healing was formed by Izzy and Danielle Paskowitz. Their son, Isaiah, was diagnosed with autism when he was three years old. And, like many kids on the spectrum, certain things bring on sensory overload. But the ocean was where Isaiah enjoyed himself the most.
Izzy, a former pro surfer, started surfing with Isaiah on the same surfboard…and a connection was made. Izzy felt that this could help other children. Camps now happen all around the US (and Puerto Rico, and Canada) to help other children on the spectrum experience an adventure like no other.
I heard about this last year from a friend whose son participated. So when I heard that the camp was going to be in the same area we vacation at – I watched for the signup list. It’s extremely popular – camps fill up quickly. So, I was so excited that B got into the camp.
Sure – it then became a logistical puzzle getting Jack the dog boarded for one day, to get a hotel one in addition to our rental house, and to take an additional day off of work…but hey, whatever. B was going surfing!
So on Friday we packed up the van and headed down the road. Needless to say, traffic was a bear and took a lot longer than we anticipated (to which I say – VDOT, you really need to work on widening I-95 faster). We first got Jack to his kennel place, then back up to the boardwalk where we were staying for the night. We made it with enough time to get some stuff into the room before heading out to the Welcome Luau.
From my understanding, the Welcome Luau is normally held right on the beach. This year, however, Dick Hoyt (from Team Hoyt) was going to speak and so other accomodations were made.
Dick Hoyt is the father of Rick Hoyt. During birth, Rick suffered oxygen depravation and was diagnosed as a spastic quadrapolegic with cerebral palsy. The Hoyts were determined to mainstream Rick – from participating in normal “kid” activities, enrolling him in public school, and living an otherwise typical life.
When Rick was 15, he asked his dad to participate in a race for a Lacrosse player who was injured in an accident. Dick pushed Rick in a wheelchair and they finished next to last. When they finished, Rick said, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.” This started the phenomen that still goes on today: marathons, dualthons and triatholons (including Ironman!). They have raced in over 1,000 races – Dick pushing and pulling Rick through the different events. They also founded The Hoyt Foundation and participate in speaking engagements, touting their slogan “YES YOU CAN!”
I mean, I cannot imagine running in ONE marathon, or a half marathon. Ok, I “try” to run but I fail at it in such a spectacular fashion. In fact, now that I’m in physical therapy I’m not allowed to run. Oh darn.
See related: Team Hoyt
So instead of being on the beach, we were at a nightclub. Peabody’s donated their space which was awesome. It was fun but it was definitely different. For one thing, their dance floor provided a perfect race track for B and many other kids. I’m too old for blacklight making everything that is normally white purple. Not great for taking pictures. At least times have changed that now it’s non-smoking.
By the way did you know there are no changing stations in the bathrooms? I know, shocker. 😉
Dick Hoyt gave an amazing speech (which I only heard part of – since Mayita decided to have a fit at that moment), there was a powerful video chronicling Team Hoyt’s history, and they introduced the surfers that would be helping out at Camp. We even had a performance from a local Polynesian dance group.
And after it was done – we were able to go back to the hotel and rest before the big day!
Well, not before B fell off the bed. We got a big scare – the “suite” we were in featured a large whirlpool tub. This tub was NOT in the bathroom; rather, it was in our living area (to feature oceanfront view). And we all freaked out, especially B, who vomited on me as I was trying to calm him down. Needless to say, we all did not have the restful night we dreamed of having.