Children may experience their Best Day ever at La Jolla Shores
by LAINIE FRASER
Published - 07/15/16 - 11:12 AM | 3192 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Best Day Foundation is a volunteer organization that gives children with special needs the opportunity to experience a day of fun and adventure. The foundation will be hosting an event at La Jolla Shores this month to kick off their San Diego chapter.

According to the foundation’s founder Brooks Lambert, the foundation has held events at Camp Pendleton in the past and hopes the San Diego chapter will be a huge success.

“We are super stoked to be coming to La Jolla Shores,” Lambert said. “The beach looks absolutely perfect and the community we have interacted with thus far has been the most supportive we have ever experienced.

“The goal for a Best Day Foundation event is to create adventure activities for kids with special needs and to give them the opportunity to challenge themselves with activities that they might not have the opportunity to try,” Lambert said. “We also want to build community connections with our passionate volunteers who gain insights engaging with people with special needs.”

Founded in 2008 in Santa Cruz, the Best Day Foundation started with one chapter, two events, 40 kids and 60 volunteers. Today, the foundation has six chapters around the country, more than 30 events, 1,200 kids and nearly 3,500 volunteers.

For the past eight years the foundation has worked to design events that allow children and young adults with special needs to experience things they may not normally get to try. The hope is that by participating in these activities they will build their self-esteem and confidence. These activities range from snowboarding and other snow sports to surfing and various water sports.

“Adventure activities were always a big part of my life and many of my key learning lessons and moments of personal growth came from the challenges presented in adventure activities,” Lambert said.

“Kids with special needs really don’t have much access to these kinds of things so I wanted to open the door to these possibilities.”

A typical day at the beach with the foundation starts by pairing each participant with a buddy.

“One of the things that makes us different from similar organizations is our Beach Buddy system,” Lambert said. “This gives the parent a break so they can watch and often times this separation and pairing with someone new allows the child to stretch themselves to try new things.”

Beach events include an obstacle course, tandem surfing, body boarding, kayaking and canoeing.

“One thing I’m particularly proud of and excited about is the Surf-chair,” Lambert said. “We created this from a Formula 1 carbon fiber racing seat so that children in wheelchairs could join us surfing.”

Lunch is provided as well as an award ceremony at which each participant is given a medal.

“We often hear from parents that this day is special because their kid gets to be just a kid for the day,” Lambert said.

Registration is open online to both participate and volunteer and, according to Lambert, it is important to register early because spots do fill up.

The Best Day Foundation will be at La Jolla Shores on July 23 and 24 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Find more information and registration forms at www.bestdayfoundation.org.
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