(PRESS RELEASE)_BOCA RATON, Fla. – February 2020 – For the first time, guests of the 12th Annual Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities will be able to go into downward dog before they learn how to balance on a surfboard.
Organizers of the annual festival for people with disabilities decided to take greater advantage of the beach by offering a unique yoga/surf class for anyone who was interested. Shellie Chiet and her son, Sam Chiet, of Jupiter, will lead guests of all ages through gentle stretches, then help them get a feel for being a surfer dude. This will be the first time the Chiets will participate at the Bash, and Shellie is excited.
“We’ve done surfing classes for children with autism. First, we like to start out with a series of yoga poses to get the muscles warmed up,” she said. “Then, we move them on to the surfboard, beginning on the sand, to help them learn basic movements. If the water is rough, we stay on the sand, so we are hoping for calm, still waters at the Bash.”
On Sunday, March 1, 2020, the nation’s largest, FREE, one-day event for people with disabilities, both seen and unseen, will welcome more than 6,000 guests to Spanish River Park. In addition to more boats, more entertainment and more amenities for those on the autism spectrum, the 2020 Bash will also introduce the new yoga/surf class from 10 a.m. to noon on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
Participants are encouraged to bring towels, sunscreen, life jackets, hats and sunglasses. The Bash will provide changing facilities. Shellie Chiet said the purpose of the class is help children feel good about themselves and empowered.
The Chiets also own Sur-fur Dogs, an animal training service company that helps owners bond with their pets through surfing. (https://www.facebook.com/SurFURdogs/) The duo have been a part of the surfing community since Sam was a competitive surfer in high school, and Shellie traveled with him to national competitions in California. The surfing community in southeast Florida is about 100 members strong through the Eastern Surfing Association, and the Chiets are active advocates of the sport.
“Our thing is safety, so if the conditions in the water are not optimal, we will focus on having fun on the sand,” Shellie Chiet said. “If we are in the water, one of us will be with them on the board, and the other will push, so the child can simply enjoy surfing.”
ABOUT THE BOATING & BEACH BASH FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES:
The Bash was started in 2009 as an event hosted by the City of Boca Raton Advisory Board for People with Disabilities. The City relinquished the Bash in 2011 to the management of Executive Director Jay Van Vechten and his wife, Lowell. Since then, through community support and donations, the couple and the Bash’s planning committee have pushed the event’s growth beyond wildest expectations. Welcoming nearly 6,000 guests in 2019, the Bash has become the largest, free, wholly disability-friendly event in the country with a full schedule of national and local entertainment, recreation, boat rides, beach access, vendors, exhibitions, workshops and food in the nation. It has also become a Spring Break destination event in South Florida, drawing families from as far away as California and New York.
Learn more at www.boatingbeachbash.com
IF YOU GO:
12th Annual Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
New! Yoga-surf lessons by Shellie and Sam Chiet: 10 a.m.-noon on the beach
Sunday, March 1, 2020
Spanish River Park, 3001 North Ocean Blvd. (A1A), Boca Raton, FL 33431
National singing acts Kechi Okwuchi and Rion Paige – both performers with physical disabilities – will headline the 12th Annual Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities, along with Kellye Cash, a country singer and former Miss America. The Bash, which is free, is the nation’s largest festival for people with special needs – both seen and unseen – their family members and caregivers. Festivities include boat rides, beach access, sporting events, ponies for petting, costumed action heroes, local entertainment, wheelchair yoga, miniature train rides, a Kids Fun Zone, food, music, a vendors’ row, and dance parties.
Exploring what to see and do in North Palm Beach and the South Florida area. Your hosts are Pam and Gerry Barker.
GERRY PRONOUNCED GARY
Listen to Chapter One of "Panama Palmer"