Friday, August 21, 2015

#OnePerfectDay - Surfers Healing 2015!

#OnePerfectDay has become the hashtag, the moniker, the real & beautiful meaning behind Surfers Healing and it's surf camps for children with Autism.

2015 was (you're not going to believe I'm saying this for the SIXTH time in a row, are you?) the Best. Surfers Healing Experience. EVER!

From volunteering again, having my sister and her kids and grandson here, to Ashton surfing and to David, Holden and Ashton racing (wait? what?! Did I just say Ashton raced?! why, YES I did! More on that in a bit) - the entire experience did not disappoint.

So here goes....... this will somewhat chronicle the entire weekend, not just Surfers Healing, so please bear with me.

*** VERY PICTURE INTENSIVE - worth the wait!! ***

So the cousins and my sister arrived a few days before Surfers Healing. My 4yo nephew, Jacob was diagnosed 2 years ago with Autism. It was quite a trip having two autistics in the house! Lots of fun, lots of giggles, and some trying moments but overall, everyone had a great time!

As you can see, Ashton LOVED his baby cousin, Chrystopher
(his "THIRD baby cousin in law";
love how he describes the relationship! ;))

Chrystopher turns a year-old on Aug 30th, so Auntie Jenn had to make sure to have an impromptu party for him! He proved to be good for some giggles and laughs! :) 
Happy early 1st birthday to Auntie's little monkey!

So, one of the reasons why my sister came when she did was so that Jacob could experience Surfer's Healing. Boy was he NOT happy about getting his lifejacket on, but as you see, he LOVED surfing!

Kelcie, my niece also got to experience a few waves! :) Look at her go! Jacob also got to surf again the next day, and he was MUCH more comfortable with it the second time around! 

So remember that 5K I mentioned? You know, the kid who didn't walk until he was almost 2? The one who has never shown any interest in physical activity or exertion? The who really hadn't ran since his 1-mile race back in June?! Yea, THAT kid! Ashton was SUPER excited race morning as you can tell! He was running around the Team Hoyt VB & Ainsley's Angels of VA groups, "stretching" on the boardwalk guardrails and was in amazing spirits! This race would also be a first for Holden; the first time he would push for the entire race! 

LOVE my big, LITTLE sister!! 

As you see, Jacob was ready for Holden's fast legs to push him!!!

Team Ashton (Michael, Ms Gina, Ashton & Mr Chris!) were ready to GO GO GO!

Ms Tv was running with Holden to assist if he needed it.
She looks like a super hero in this pose! ha! :)

Think Jacob is ready to go?! LOL!

....... and there they go!!

As usual, Holden's FLYING into the finish line! 
Ms Tv said his sprint at the end should be named "the killer"! HAHAHA!

Here he comes!! Almost at the end of his first 5K!!!

So, yes - Ashton finished his 5K. 53:33! He didn't come in last; in fact, 12 people finished after him! AMAZING job!! He actually started out at a 5:30/mile pace for the first 1/4 of a mile or so! Speedy legs! Of course, he can't keep that pace up for long distances but he did his usual sprint a bit, walk, sprint some more and walk, etc. He promptly plopped to the ground at the finish and said "I'm done! No more running!" LOL! :) But he's said he wants to do it again, so we'll see!

Ashton with two of his biggest fans - Mr. Rooster & Michael!
They were (and are) very proud of him!
Some tears may have been shed on a couple of people's part, but I'm not telling who! ;)

Ashton & Izzy - one of his favorite people! 

So, for whatever reason, Ashton got to tandem surf this year!
Levi was AMAZING with all the kids I saw him surf with, and with Ashton, he didn't disappoint. Ashton thought Levi was super cool despite him telling Levi he sounds funny (lol - gotta love the autistic mind - they speak what they think! lol). Levi is from New Zealand so of course, has an accent that Ashton was not used to. He did probably sound funny to Ashton! Levi took it in stride and helped Ashton ride quite a few waves and didn't panic when Ashton wiped out. Ashton will usually stand right up and be ready to go again, but if the surfer or assistants he is with panic, all bets are off and he is done. Thankfully, Levi took his cues from Ashton and it went amazing!

Love this picture of Levi & Ashton that my sister took... 
Looks like they're planning out their surfing strategy!

High 5s make any wipeout SUPER cool!

Thanks again Levi! Hope to see you again next year!

Mr Christian (who Ashton has surfed with in the past) came up and asked Holden if he was ready! lol Holden kind of was like "nah, I don't want to", but I kind of pushed him into doing it and he had a blast he said! ;) My little anxiety-ridden kiddo doesn't like doing new things but once pushed into doing them, he has fun as you can tell! Christian is great with both of my boys!

So, as soon as Ashton was out of the water from surfing with Levi, Ms Sonya came up to him and asked why he didn't surf with her! LOL! He said "Oh, I'm sorry" and off into the water he went again! LOL :) This boy would stay in the water ALL DAY LONG if we let him!!! :) :) 

I know, these are some majorly Autism stimmy moments... but WHO cares!! It's a part of how Ashton regulates his sensory system and I love that he has this outlet that lets him calm himself or regulate himself in a manner that is safe for him to do so. LOOK AT THAT SMILE!!

What Surfers Healing experience would be complete without the dolphins! :) :)
If I didn't know better, I would say the SH foundation team have dolphins brought in JUST for this event! There are ALWAYS dolphins, EVERY year!!! :) SO beautiful!!!

 So Surfers Healing 2015 WAS the best. one. ever! That One Perfect Day (or in our case, two days) of community, friendship, understanding, calm, peace and acceptance.... but most of all, the love. The love these surfers and the volunteers bring to all of the families (over 400 children surfed at this year's event!) who live with Autism can sustain you through some of the toughest times. I'm so glad for our community. So very blessed and thankful for all of the surfers, both local and the far-away ones too! Ever year we walk away with knowing that if we had to be a part of a community, that we are so very thankful this is the one God placed us in to. Thankful for our friends and family. Thankful for acceptance and love.