Hawaii Pacific University Guest Blogger Student Series.
My girlfriend and I headed out to White Plains Beach in Ewa on Sept. 9th 2017. We were excited to get in the water and get to work.
AccesSurf organizers started off by making some announcements to all of the volunteers and allowed us to decide what area of responsibility we wanted to be involved with. We chose to help in the assisted swim group. The others possible areas were adaptive surf, water transfers, and safety. AccesSurf provides color-coded rash guards to the volunteers of each group so each person’s role can easily be identified.
Once we separated into our assisted swim group, the group leader gave some instructions on how to safely and properly interact with the participants. New volunteers were paired up with others with experience. Many participants are regulars at the event, so the repeat volunteers have a relationship with participants and are often already aware of the specific needs related to each participant’s disability. This was comforting for us first-timers, ensuring we never felt overwhelmed.
AccesSurf provided a free lunch to all in attendance. The choices included hot dogs, cheeseburgers and veggie burgers and various other snacks.
It was a very rewarding day and everyone involved seemed to enjoy themselves. Further, I worked with one participant who had a disability that prevented her from being able to effectively exercise her legs on land. The participant explained that she, unfortunately, also had an allergy to chlorine which meant the ocean was the only place where water exercise was possible. The organization and safety of the event meant that this was one of the few opportunities that this participant had for effective therapeutic exercise of her limbs.
Thank you to travel2change for linking us up with this great organization.