BOCA RATON, FL – The American Disabilities Foundation will emphasize healthful living and quality of life issues at its Eighth Annual Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities, simply known as “the Bash.” The nation’s largest free, one-day event for people with special needs, the Bash will take place Saturday, March 12, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., at Spanish River Park, 3001 State Road A1A, in Boca Raton. Since introducing guests to the benefits of yoga and meditation at last year’s Mind Body Spirit Center, Bash organizers are seeking to expand the event’s focus on health and well-being, this year. “We’re excited to offer educational opportunities, health assessments and sporting events at this year’s Bash,” Jay Van Vechten, Executive Director of the American Disabilities Foundation, states. “Our hope is to inspire guests in recognizing the true potential of their abilities, instead of focusing on their disabilities.”
Care to Dance?
Among the myriad new activities planned for this year’s Bash, guests and their caregivers with neuro-muscular challenges, such as Parkinson’s disease, will have an opportunity to learn dance techniques from Boca Ballet Theatre professionals. Participants will discover that dancing, even with challenges, can improve core strength, range of motion and self-confidence for those living with neuro- muscular challenges, such as Parkinson’s disease.
Sports on the Beach!
On Spanish River Park’s expansive oceanfront beach, the City of Boca Raton will provide roll out mats for the day to make the beach accessible for those using mobility devices. Here, Bash guests will discover games and activities designed and supervised by professional recreational therapists from Memorial Hospital, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Boca Raton Regional Hospital and Pinecrest Rehabilitation Hospital at the Delray Medical Center. These games will be under the direction of former New Orleans Saints NFL Linebacker Ray Shipman, manager of Adaptive Sports and Recreation at Memorial Rehabilitation Institute. Shipman will provide participants with new options in low impact sports and fun activities designed specifically for people with disabilities. Assisting the professionals will be a team of physical therapy students from Nova Southeastern University.
How about a Dip in the Sea?
Boca’s famed YMCA Aquatics Program, led by Liz Schmidt, will have professional swim instructors and lifeguards on hand to help guests swim and enjoy gentle surfing experiences close to shore. Participants are encouraged to bring a swimsuit and towel with them. Joining the YMCA will be a team from Dive Heart, a scuba diving group that takes people with disabilities diving in the waters around South Florida. They will provide diving demonstrations. Keeping Bash guests safe from the burning effects of the sun will be sunscreen manufacturer Panama Jack, offering free protection at four Sunscreen Stations set up throughout the park and on the beach.
A Special Place for Those Who Just Want to Watch
For those unable to participate in any of the beach activities, Michigan Lake Products will construct an accessible viewing stand for the day, placed close to the dunes. This is where wheelchair users can park and enjoy all that unfolds before them, including overhead champion kite flying. Inside the park, America’s #2 rated wheelchair basketball team, The Sharks of Memorial Hospital, will shoot hoops and give demonstrations of their abilities as basketball players dealing with challenges. Other games on land are being organized by Tiffany Charlson, director of recreational therapy at Pinecrest Rehabilitation Hospital. Charlson, Shipman and Genie Lieberman from the new Gloria Drummond Physical Rehabilitation Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital say the programs being offered at the 2016 Bash may help guests over the long term develop new skills, become more independent, improve self-esteem, increase motivation, improve mood, reduce stress and even lower blood pressure.
Get Your Blood Pressure Checked and Talk to Health Care Professionals
For the first time ever, the Boating & Beach Bash will offer attendees a chance to get their blood pressure taken by nursing professionals from the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, Boca Raton Regional Hospital and pharmacy students from Nova Southeastern and Palm Beach Atlantic Universities. Guests, including caregivers, will be able to chat with medical professionals about their health, pick up free wellness materials and take home a File of Life magnetized sleeve that attaches to the refrigerator and holds an individual’s vital health information, such as current medications, pre-existing conditions and anything vital to EMT’s who might be called to the person’s home in the event of an emergency.
Boat Rides, a Barbecue Lunch, Action Heroes, Ponies and a Kids’ Fun Zone
With the support of 2016 Bash sponsors, including title sponsor, Harcourt M. and Virginia W. Sylvester Family Foundation, along with TD Bank, the EM Lynn Foundation and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, everyone’s favorite Bash offerings will be in place, beginning with free admission to Spanish River Park. Additionally, guests will enjoy a complimentary barbecue lunch with beverages donated by PepsiCo, along with everyone’s favorite activity taking a boat ride on the Intracoastal Waterway – supervised by the U.S. Coast Guard. There will be more than a dozen costumed action heroes mingling with guests, along with clowns, face painters, a half dozen musical performers in concert on the Bash stage, a “Kids’ Fun Zone,” sponsored by Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, DJ’s with Cerebral Palsy playing popular dance music, service dogs and miniature therapy ponies, Ronald McDonald giving out toys and doing magic tricks, and many other activities that promise to be fun for guests, their families and caregivers.
Opening Ceremonies at 11 a.m.
The official Bash opening ceremony will take place at 11 a.m., with many local, state and national figures in attendance. Nadege Robertson will sing the national anthem, just weeks after her sold out Boca jazz concert at Lynn University, while Navy ROTC Cadets from Boca Raton High School will provide the always moving ceremonial Color Guard flag presentation. For more information or to make a donation, visit the Bash website (http://www.boatingbeachbash.com) or call (561) 715- 2662. Further information is also available by mailing the Bash at: The American Disabilities Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 99, Boca Raton, FL 33429.