Casanova_2008 - By Cindy Casanova CPRP I n an effort t o...

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By Cindy Casanova, CPRP I n an effort to provide innovative recre- ation programming for children with disabilities, the Miami Beach Parks and Recreation Department conducted a week- long special spring break surf camp earlier this year. The camp, which allowed young- sters with autism to learn how to surf, was developed through a unique partnership between the city of Miami Beach and the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. Eleven campers, ages 11-15, studied basic oceanography and meteorology, discov- ered the fundamentals of open-water surf- ing at South Pointe Park, and learned snorkeling skills. Assisted by lifeguards and supplemental staff, campers rode their first waves under the watchful eyes of the city's Ocean Rescue Division. The most rewarding experience? Hands down, it was the smiles and laughter com- ing from the children as they stood up on the boards with the swell of the waves behind them. The campers' parents were incredibly thankful and supportive, but one
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