Making A Difference

Surf instructors reach out to autistic children

By Sarah Vaccaro |

Most people wake up and sit behind a desk, gripping their coffee mug like a lifeline on Monday mornings.

Creator of A+ Children’s Therapy Surf Camp Shawn Lennon, on the other hand, begins his Monday mornings surfing for a cure for autism on North Beach. Children who suffer from Autism are affected through their communication, imagination, socializing and other behaviors.

For TJ, Max and Chloe, everything makes sense for them in the open waters. A demonstration of speed and fitness begins a way of life and a form of communion with nature. Lennon ran this idea through his sister-in-law, Dr. Debbie Lennon who works with special needs clinic in St. Augustine, Orange Park and Fleming Island.

“The rest of our days are so great,” said Lennon.

Success begins in the water while fear ends. Max, who is a 6-year old, is just a kid in the ocean.

Lennon runs his camp from mid July to late summer or whenever the water starts getting cold.

Sponsors such as Chris Wetgen, First Coast Suzuki, Surf Station and Custom X Body boards all support Lennon. Owner of Surf Station, Tory Strange says, “It is really cool to dedicate time and energy helping those that can use it that can benefit from it. The kids who benefit from it will remember and enjoy it forever.”

Surf Instructor Al Angyalfy says, “It’s great to see what magic comes from the ocean.”
Surfing may be a hobby to a few, but for most, it becomes a way of life.

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