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Summer camp teaches youth on the autism spectrum how to surf

Around one hundred people were on the beach Tuesday cheering and giving high fives to the young people surfing in the HEAL Foundation camp.

NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. — It's a favorite time of the year for families to catch some waves at Neptune Beach!

The HEAL Foundation, which stands for Helping Enrich Autistic Lives, is hosting its annual surfing summer camp Tuesday and Wednesday. Around one hundred people were on the beach Tuesday cheering and giving high fives to the young people surfing.

"This is our 15th year of doing it," said HEAL Foundation Founder Leslie Weed.

Volunteers say the joy they feel being a part of the camp makes it a no-brainer to be there.

"It's just been magical to come out here and see the reaction and the response from the kids," said Sefton Tranter, lead volunteer.

Camper Slade Denton says he feels happy on the water.

"That joy is contagious," said Kayne Sears, founder of the surf camp.

"We have a guy that's blind and autistic, sort of nonverbal, he doesn't have a full vocabulary," said HEAL Foundation Board Member Joe Matacia. "But he's a great surfer. He surfs with his ears. He feels it. He says 'one more time' and that's what I love about him. He's always ready for another wave. He'll take a lickin' and it doesn't matter. He'll just pop right up and say 'one more time.'"

When Max was asked if he wanted to get back out on the water, his response was, "One more time!"

"One of my favorite stories about Slade is he worked really hard to stand up and it took a little while and he finally got it," said HEAL Foundation Board Member Archie Jenkins. "When he did, he was so excited. It's just so good to see these kids, these are some of the best kids."

Weed says the HEAL Foundation does more than a dozen summer camps. Learn how you can join here.

Your Donations in Action!!! The 15th HEAL Surf Camp is next week!! This footage will truly put a smile on your face and...

Posted by HEAL Foundation on Friday, June 10, 2022

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