OCEAN CITY, Md. – It was no ordinary beach day for a group of children in Ocean City. The non-profit, Surfers Healers, held its 10th annual event, which helps children with autism learn how to surf.
The organization pairs professional surfers with children who have autism. They take them out on the water to catch a couple ways. The event also includes food, vendors and other activities.
For parents like Megan and Scott Fitzgerald, the event goes far beyond the sport of surfing.
“For us as parents and caregivers, this is our tribe,” Megan said. “This is where it’s not about autism awareness. This is autism acceptance. This is about autism celebration. This is about I know no different. This is my beautiful baby and I’m not busy comparing them to anybody else.”
The event is free for families, thanks in part with the help of the community, local businesses, and one of the chief sponsors, Double Good. 50 cents of every dollar spent at the Chicago-based company, Double Good, helps kids do what they love.
“That’s what’s moving for us,” Mark Biondi, with Double Good, said. “To see the kids come out of the water. They’re so proud of what they accomplished. I mean, surfing’s hard, I can’t do it. And these kids, they go out there and do it.”
More than 200 children and their families participated in the surfing event. Ocean City is just one stop on the Surfers Healing tour. The camp traveled the west coast this year, and it will continue on throughout the east coast over the next couple of months.
“The opportunity for them to come out and just be relaxed and not have to worry about anybody’s reaction to whatever they feel like doing,” Woody German with Surfers Healing Ocean City said. It’s nice to be a part of something that they can enjoy. It’s a good day.”