Sunday, August 3, 2014

Surf Camp for Kids with Hearing Loss

It must have been about a year ago that I first learned of Indo Jax Surf Charities from a Facebook post. The Wilmington, NC based surf school provides a series of surf camps for kids with hearing loss, visual impairments, autism, and other challenges. Given Julia's interest in surfing, I began stalking their website for information on this summer's camp which is offered free of charge.

In January the schedule was posted and I began planning our vacation to Wrightsville Beach. I need not have been so diligent (I might have placed a few phone calls) about securing Julia's spot in the camp. The owner, Jack, told the crowd of parents that it's very important that the surf school never has to turn kids away. Later this summer, 60 kids will take part in the autism camp. And I was worried that all the spots were going to be filled!

Julia and fourteen other kids with varying levels of hearing loss gathered at Mallard Street beach access #10 for several two hour long sessions in the water. Instructors outnumbered participants and it soon became apparent that there was no need to worry about sending our little girl into the ocean. These guys, already having spent about eight hours in the ocean, were as attentive as Tim and I are with our own kid. As soon as Julia was off the board her instructor, Matt, was diving toward her. There was never a moment when any child was left to struggle even for a second. Parents walked back and forth on the shore, following their kids as the waves carried them down the beach.

Julia's surf instructor, Matt, helping her secure her ankle strap.

Pure joy!
Surfers have long believed that theirs is not just a sport, but a transformative life event. Conquering the ever changing ocean instills a confidence unmatched by other pursuits. I can see it in my daughter, her pride in standing up time after time. She's living a life without limits and it's never more evident than when she's out on the water. As inspiring as it was to watch my own child, Tim and I joyfully watched the other kids conquer their own challenges. By the end of the week, every kid was riding waves and their smiles were infectious.

How You Can Get Involved


Wrightsville Beach is a great place for a family vacation. If your son or daughter has hearing loss and has ever thought of surfing or even if it's been the furthest thing from your mind, check out this program. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity! Camps for kids with visual impairments and children with hearing loss were sponsored by the Helen Keller Foundation and Alert Tile. Individual tax deductible donations are accepted through the Indo Jax Surf Charity web site or by mail.

2 comments:

  1. Our son did the visually impaired camp a couple of weeks ago and we were equally as impressed. We cannot say enough good things about the experience. It was amazing!

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  2. This is a wonderful idea. I wonder if my brother would like to go to this. His hearing is impaired, but has always wanted to go surfing. I really think by having something like this, he wouldn't have to worry about his hearing aid getting wet. I will have to look more into this and see if he wants to go. http://www.costa-rica-surf-adventures.com/surf_camp.html

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