Down Syndrome children and families enjoy a day on the beach - NBC40.net

Down Syndrome children and families enjoy a day on the beach

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NORTH WILDWOOD -

North Wildwood Beach Patrol lifeguards partnered with thechildren of the 21 Down organization for the fifth annual "beach day" Fridaymorning.

21 Down is a family support group for parents raisingchildren with Down Syndrome, and the beach day allows kids a safe chance tosplash around in the water.

"Some kids don't go to the beach at all, this is theironly chance to go to the beach so you feel comfortable because everyone else islike you," said Committe Member Lauren Johnson.

Billy Auty of the North Wildwood Beach Patrol reached out to21 Down to create the event five years ago, and beach day is a day almost allof the kids circle on their calendar.

"The ocean was, when I was in the water, it was kind ofcold but it was a lot of fun!" Said Maureen Larsen.

"I love it!" Said Marissa Faralli.

The fun the lifeguards had while participating rivals that ofthe kids on the surfboards and in the kayaks.

"The guys that help out said this is the best day of theyear for them. I mean by far it's giving the kids an experience they'llprobably never forget," said Billy Auty with the North Wildwood BeachPatrol.

When "beach day" first started five years ago, organizers sayonly a handful of families took part.

Since then, event organizers have seen the beach day grow inpopularity each year."

"I think the first year we had five or six, now it'sgrown to like 40 something families and over 100 people," said Johnson.

And during the relay races held throughout the day, it wasnot who won or lost, but rather who had the most fun.

"I like kayaking and surfing," said Michael with 21down.

"We went surfing on the boards!" said Faralli.

"It was kind of fun, I've never did it before so it waskind of fun," said Larsen.

"Beach day" is just one of several events 21 Down says theyhost every year.

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