It Takes a Village – Surf & Turf Camp, A Wonderful Success

Sharing the Stoke - Jack Viroel takes the little ones out to surf

Back from our first collaboration of horses, camping and surfing for autism families. Words can’t describe the experience. These photos, taken through the lens of one of the moms, tells the story of celebrating family, childhood, horses,tribe,  nature and surfing.

“We really achieved something quite extraordinary here. I haven’t seen so many cognitive and sensory changes happen so radically in such a short space of time to such a large number of kids. The surf/turf is totally complimentary – and the surf culture you’ve managed to create Rocky is impeccable. all those teens are future leaders.” Rupert Isaacson, HorseBoy Foundation


Jeff Clark came to play with the kids too! Photo by Debbie Tolaney

This was a collaboration between Jack Viroel and his crew at IndoJax Surf Charities, Iliane Lorenz, Jenny Lockwood and Rupert Isaacson of HorseBoy Foundation, Rocky Raynor and the fantastic kids on the Half Moon Bay Surf Club Team and Square Peg.  We’d like to publicly thank Robin Camozzi and Carl Hoffman at HMB Feed and Fuel for providing a beautiful setting for the event, Lucinda Mandella and the folks at  CARMA for the support that made it possible, Peter Finch and Nikki Medora at KGO for the live interview (click here to listen), Bo Razon for the world-class music, Terri Milkovich and 231 Ellsworth for the yummy food that saw us all through, for Square Peg volunteers, Rachel Bisaillon, Deborah Lynn Rod, Max Freiberger, Aaron Schneider and Susana DuLait.  Even surf legend Jeff Clark showed up to join in the fun!

Capt'n Jack doing what he does best!
“Thank you so very much for making today so special. There aren’t many activities that my autistic son and his little brother can share the joy in together…but today you made that happen!!”

None of this would be possible if it weren’t for our ranch manager Greg Crosta and head instructor Sigourney Jellins and their cast of fantastic volunteers for holding down the Square Peg fort while we were away.

“Just wanted to tell you thanks so much for letting W* join yesterday. I think he had one of the best days of his life. Still very tired today but in a good way.”


Celebrating Silliness - that's what it's all about

The families were the key to it all of course.  We are so grateful for the trust they showed us as we fumbled our way through our first efforts.  Being able to share laughter and silliness, food and adventure with them all was a treat we will savor for a long time to come.

“It is such a relief to be among people who see his strengths, and do not stand with crossed arms and pursed lips as they view him through eyes narrowed in judgement and disapproval. Reminds me of how great it is to hang out at the ranch and has given me lots of food for thought. And what a relief for my son to know that people wouldn’t be upset with him or disappointed by his choices to participate or not. That in and of itself was a huge gift.”

Finally, I can’t forget to thank our horses for the camp; Bob, Bert and Django – stars forever!

photo by Debbie Tolaney
Super Bob the Wonder Pony always brings a smile!

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