My back and arms are on fire from all the strength I am using to paddle my two-man kayak towards the beach. But I quickly forget that as I hear all the cheers and shouting from the beach. No one is cheering for me, they are cheering for a young gentleman named Curtis who is whooping and hollering from the front seat. By the time we pulled into the shore my cheeks were hurting from the huge grin I had across my face.
Curtis, has down syndrome and as part of a yearly get together called Audrey’s Day at The Beach he gets to go kayaking in the bay. The event is put on by Bill and Jackie Shockley in memory of their granddaughter, Audrey. They put on this yearly event the weekend before Father’s Day and host it at the Rockport Beach Park in Rockport, Texas.
I have never had experience with anyone who has down syndrome so being able to volunteer was an eye opening experience. Parents shared their stories with us and it just made me feel so wonderful that I was able to do something that made the kids so happy. Some of the families had been attending the event every year and it was awesome to hear how the kids made huge steps forward every year. Curtis, for example, paddled the boat for the first time this year and he was so happy that he did it! He was so happy that he blew me kisses from the shore. 🙂
I will never forget how it felt to be a part of this event and hope to volunteer again next year!