By: Mo Langley, President & Co-Founder, Sandy Feet Initiative
About the Sandy Feet Initiative
Sandy Feet Initiative is a San Clemente, California based non-profit which provides support and resources to the siblings of children with special needs by way of summer camp at the beach.. We have about eighteen campers, ages seven to twelve and each has a sibling with special needs. We host 3 summer camps and after school programs in Spring and Fall. For three weeks out of the summer we have after school and weekend days at the beach.
Sandy Feet helps them keep their heads up and become friends with other sibshops. They find might and comfort in simply knowing one another. The interesting trait of this group is how unique and humble they are. The undue amount of pressure, stress and patience can wear on anyone, no matter what their age. A sibling of a child with special needs holds their family together and to have to take on that role, as an adolescent, is deserving of so much more. That is where we like to think that Sandy Feet comes in.
After catching a glimpse of my long time amigo and Tandem Boogie owner/entrepreneur, John Clark’s post regarding this, his new product on Kickstarter, I literally laughed out loud and said, “OMG I’m gonna have to try that thing, like soon!”.
The First Ride
When we received the board, my husband and I took it out with some neighbor friends. We were laughing so hard, it truly felt like we were all kids again. Imagine a few of the looks we got with a crew of 50 somethings being kind of rowdy for our ages. I do reminder one of us shouting, “this thing is stupid fun!” to the bemused onlookers in the sand. Giggling our way back to the car, pulling up to the driveway, my husband stoically comments before opening the door, “you know we have to get one of those things for Sandy Feet”.
The Second Ride
The following adventure time, we doled it out to the campers to see how crazy a time they can have bodyboarding with it also. Immediately, they were trying to see how many they could fit on the board at once, striking poses, flossing and get this, even actually riding waves. I think the most they got was three at once, but they seem confident that by the end of the summer, that will change.
They bobbed and spun, jumped and slid, laid on it, sat on it...stood on it. I think the only think they couldn’t do was hold it under water for long. Nevertheless, the joy they had trying to, was classic. It's so colossal, that the little ones can be perched up on the board, with the older counselors guiding it smoothly through the small stuff. Still giving them all the same level of fun as the bigger kids.
One of the girls got bonked on the head from a bigger wave knocking the board. We all held our breath for a second, but she smiled and adorably let everyone know that it didn’t even hurt! She continued to alert the other of the good news. It was a subtle moment of growth and confidence and it gave the staff a big smile.
What Side note for grownups, it takes up almost no space in the garage because it deflates. Literally with all of our bulky surfboards, we have our Tandem Boogie Board completely out of the way, on a shelf.
Shortly thereafter, we purchased the second one and now it is without a doubt a regular part of the regular activities. I think it's going to be one of those things one day we will look back and question how we lived without. The senior campers, who also volunteer, have really become good friends with one another. Watching them cement their bonds, with something that doesn’t keep them siloed alone assured us this was probably the best purchase we could have made this summer.
Ali Cali, Camp Director added, “We have had two Tandem Boogie AIR boards for two weeks now and from my perspective, that has resulted in countless amazing moments and friendships."
To learn more about the Sandy Feet Initiative:
Mo Langley, President & Co-Founder