Aug 29 2016

Surfers Sojourn to Folly to Give Special Needs Kids “One Perfect Day”

On Thursday, Aug. 25, the sun was shining high in the morning sky. An artful splay of clouds fanned out overhead, while waves rolled in toward the shore in gentle swells. And dotting the water near the Pier were some of the happiest faces you’ve ever seen.

Some belonged to seasoned surfers … and some belonged to the autistic children being paddled out by said surfers for what may very well be described as the ride of their lives.There’s good reason this year’s Surfers Healing Camp is being called “one perfect day” – because it was. Ask anyone who bore witness, and they’ll tell you the same.

A nationwide, grassroots non-profit, Surfers Healings hosts a camp at Folly Beach every year to provide autistic children and their families an unforgettable and restorative experience through surfing. Every year, more than 200 families travel to Folly so their children can take part. And, every year, pro surfers from all over the world sojourn to Folly’s shores to lend their time and expertise.

This proved to be a banner year for the event, with surfers and children catching wave after wave in tandem as proud parents looked on from the shoreline. Local amateur photographer, Melissa Vc, volunteered for the day and says it’s difficult to even put into words how impactful the experience was.

“I’m one of the luckiest volunteers!” she told us. “With my long lens, I got to see the children close up when they were far out in the water waiting on the wave. I followed their smiles from afar, all the way to shore, and felt the joy deep in my soul. This was the best volunteering experience I’ve ever had, and I look forward to the years ahead. I am honored to have been asked to help photograph such an amazing event!”

After each child came out of the water, they were greeted with a metal, presented with a trophy and sent to have their picture taken. Suffice it to say the smiles that stretched across the sun-kissed faces melted the hearts of everyone in attendance. The fact that the event was free for the children and their families – it is staffed entirely by volunteers – makes the day that much more magical.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every 68 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum, which is why one of the primary aims of Surfers’ Healing is to raise awareness. “Autism is probably one of the biggest, misunderstood type of… I don’t even want to classify it as a disability because it’s not. I think that they’re perfect the way that they are, but as much awareness as possible is great,” Renee Covington, the mother of one of this year’s participating kids, told Live 5 News.

To find out how you can get involved in next year’s “one perfect day” and make an impact on so many beautiful little lives, visit SurfersHealingFolly.com.

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