Sunday, August 9, 2009

Project Surf Camp!

Have you ever heard of ...
I had... and even though I KNEW that it was for special needs individuals, I still thought that Nathaniel wouldn't fit in... HOW WRONG CAN I BE??? This is the BEST program I have had him participate in in YEARS!

After our recent disappointment with Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis County I was hesitant to do this camp, but I promised him months ago, and I try not to break my promises to my children. So yesterday we headed out to a bit of the unknown.

This is the group from camp on Aug 8, 2009. The one Nathaniel participated in this weekend! See him... he's the littlest guy in yellow :) The campers are the ones with the colored shirts over their wet suits, the others are the VOLUNTEERS that run the camp!

The Mission Statement at Project Surf Camp is: "Project Surf Camp is a charitable organization designed to educate individuals with special needs. Our mission is to build self confidence, self-esteem, and self-efficacy. We further provide opportunities to build social skills, improve physical fitness, develop healthy outlets for stress reduction, and foster independence. Outcomes are achieved through the modality of surf instruction and/or beach and aquatic activities. "

We started the day getting the kids fitted with wetsuits and geared up. All the suits are donated and the kids use them for free. Once everyone was suited up we headed to the beach! Here everyone is gathered getting a little pre water instruction and encouragement.

Here's a bit more pre water instruction about surfing and how to do it once they are out there.

I know that Nathaniel was thinking "I know how to do this, it's my seal position that I do EVERYDAY.. .like a million times to stretch my back!"

Finally, Nathaniel and his helpers getting in the water. How excited was he to have 3 helpers.... all girls :) Silly boy!

Look at that face.... pure joy! He had SO MUCH FUN!!

The volunteers that work in this program are AWESOME!! They were patient, kind, encouraging, tolerant and just plain WONDERFUL!
Seriously, if you love surfing and God you should check out volunteering with these guys! I would if I could!

Ok... so I am overboard with the pictures... but it was so cool!!
I was in tears with how wonderful this program is and how much Nathaniel LOVED it!

Look, they were even getting him UP on the board!!
You know, the child who would never walk... up surfing!
Makes this mommy's heart sing with thankfulness to the Lord!

They had a really hard time getting Nat to take any breaks, even though it was super foggy and REALLY cold... I think that this was one of his 2 breaks in 3 hours!

Happy boy!

He told me latter that his cheeks hurt... I think it was because he was grinning the whole time!

The staff was so encouraging!
This is one of the directors, Kaleb, celebrating with Nathaniel that he was doing so great!

This is the director, John Taylor, watching Nat and encouraging him. I have met John at church many times and knew he is a great guy, but this was beyond my wildest imagination!

Finally, time to go back... can you tell he was disappointed that it was over??

These are really short video clips of Nathaniel riding the waves!

Overall, this was seriously one of the best days EVER with my son! Please go check this group out here. It's a great group and there are so many ways to help them!! If nothing else come out on Friday and check out the next time Nat will be surfing... yes, he had so much fun I signed hi up for the next session.. unfortunately it's the last one this summer, but you can be sure we will be back next year!! As long as Nathaniel is standing I will make SURE he is there!!
Thank you Lord for this amazing program... that you put it on the hearts of John and so many others, that you make a way for them to pull it off, and that this type of thing is available for our kids! You are so amazing Lord!!


Mary K., David and James said...

What an awesome experience! Go, Nathaniel, go!!
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