Ministry Recap: Surfer’s Healing with Bridge Ministry

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On Saturday, June 3, 2017, six of our families from Lighthouse Bridge Ministry attended the Surfer’s Healing camp in Malibu Beach. Surfer’s healing is a free 1-day surf camp for children with autism. Their mission is to enrich the lives of people living with autism by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing. This camp was started by Israel and Danielle Paskowitz because of their son, Isaiah. Isaiah has autism, and as he struggled with meltdowns and sensory overload, riding the waves with his father calmed him like nothing else. Their idea caught on and now they offer their camps all around the world with thousands of participants every year. Due to the growing popularity of the camp, many families would have an impossible time signing up because it would fill up the minutes after registration opened. To deliver a better solution, the camp changed their registration process starting last year. They now implement a lottery structure, where all families who have children on the autism spectrum can sign up during their registration period of a week and they randomly select the families based on their capacity. They prioritized the children who have never experienced camp before and fortunately, all 6 of our families got in!

We were so grateful that all our families could enjoy the day at the beach and got to experience their children accomplish a feat that would not be possible for many if not for this camp. The day started with the founder calling his son, Israel over to bless the day. He received the mic and stated a partial Lord’s prayer and an “Amen.” The families then had the day to relax, enjoy refreshments, fellowship with each other, and get to witness their children play and surf on the beach. Few things that stood out from that day:

  1. The Organization – The entire camp was well-run and organized. The kids were broken into groups which they called over a speaker system so the families would know to get their child ready. They would go through a line to get their wet suits and life jackets, then wait for their surfer to pick them up to take them out.
  2. The people and volunteers – The people running the camp and registration were amazing. One of our families couldn’t make their surf time because their child had trouble sleeping the night before and were worried they wouldn’t be able to surf. The ladies running registration were understanding and assured us that they would never turn a child away. They ended up coming later in the day and got to surf! Also, it is worth mentioning the volunteers handling all the children in that line while fitting their wet suits and life jackets. They displayed the greatest level of grace and patience. Some kids struggled with this process, but these people handled it so smoothly and with genuine joy in serving these children. That was very encouraging to watch.
  3. The surfers –We all witnessed the extra strength it took the surfers to paddle out deep in the ocean with the extra weight on their boards. A Couple of our kids struggled getting out initially, but the surfers were determined, loving, and patient with all the kids, and it paid off when they ALL got to catch those waves!
  4. The families – It was a great blessing to witness the joy on the children’s faces and the parents watching their children accomplish something they never thought would be possible.

After reflecting on the day, we were all ultimately reminded of God’s glory, grace, and beauty reflected in an event like this that encouraged, served, and loved these children who are fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image. Thank you to all the families who joined our day of joy and celebration. We look forward to attending again next year!