Flutie Foundation staff recently enjoyed a beautiful summer day having Fun in the Sun with AccesSportAmerica in Canton, MA. This long-standing partnership helps us accomplish a key part of our mission to encourage active lifestyles. In fact, this relationship began almost two decades ago when Dougie himself discovered his love for the water. This adaptive program of windsurfing, paddle boating, and Hawaiian outrigger canoeing gives those with autism the opportunity to live an active lifestyle no matter what their ability
This is always one of our favorite days of summer! We all look forward to seeing the individuals, both new participants and our veterans, get out on the water, learn and develop new skills while having an incredible time. Watching the kids thrive on the water is the absolute best – the self-confidence and pride gained is immeasurable. One of the highlights for me was watching one of our first time participants pull in and immediately run down to get his life jacket on while his mother watched in awe. She said he paces back and forth to the window just waiting to get in the car and head to the program. His mother went on to tell me how she was probably more nervous than he was to start the program but once she saw him with the staff and how he lit up when he got in the canoe, she was both relieved and elated that he was participating (and actually already asked me when she can sign up again for next year!).
Cindy Burrow, whose son Zach participated, commented, “This was our first year with Fun in the Sun, and it was an awesome experience for Zach. He’s 13, and it can be very challenging to find activities for him during the summer. Most supported environments are geared more to younger kids, while this experience allowed him to go at his own pace, but push himself, with support. At Zach’s age, it’s also hard to get him outdoors during the summer. He tends to want to stay inside on screens or hanging out in his room. He really benefited from the couple of hours out in the sunshine and fresh air each day. I also felt like the experience gave him a nice balance of being able to practice social skills one-on-one with just being a kid and having fun. He was able to engage the staff in conversations, mini-games, etc., or just to be quiet while they paddled and sailed. Overall, the experience was awesome and the staff were fantastic. We appreciate the opportunity given by The Flutie Foundation to help Zach get out, get active, and get excited about being on the water!”
Andy Moroz, father to Aidan commented, “Canoeing, sailing and windsurfing were never activities that we would have tried with Aidan if it wasn’t for your program. I am so thankful for AccesSportAmerica and The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for providing this opportunity for my son.”
We are proud that this partnership has helped these families realize accomplishments that they may never have thought possible for their loved ones. And while the summer may be coming to a close, it is also signals a beginning for us here at The Flutie Foundation. A new grant cycle is underway and with that comes new partnerships and the nurturing of relationships with families, both old and new. Enjoy these last few weeks of summer and please let me know if you have any questions about how we can help someone in your life realize all that they are capable of.
All my best,
Lisa Collins, Program Director
The “Full Of Life” blog is a place where we celebrate families affected by autism who are living life to the fullest and offer tips and tools for daily living. We often invite guest bloggers to join the conversation. Do you have a story about living life to the fullest? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and your blog submission could be featured!