Boating & Beach Bash – A Worthy Cause!

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8th ANNUAL BOATING & BEACH BASH FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES SET FOR MARCH 12, 2016

 

Organizers of the Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities have announced ambitious plans for its 8th annual salute to Floridians with special needs. The next Bash will be held Saturday, March 12, 2016, in Spanish River Park, on A1A in Boca Raton, Florida, from 10:00AM – 3:00PM.

The Bash brings together kids, adults and wounded warriors, along with their caregivers, for a totally free, fun outing at one of the most beautiful parks in Florida. Bordering the Atlantic Ocean and pristine beaches on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other, Spanish River Park provides an ideal oasis for a myriad of activities planned for guests. “While our focus has traditionally been to offer a range of supervised fun attractions modified to those with special needs, we realize we also have an opportunity to incorporate healthful living support that can improve year round quality of life issues for many of our attendees,” says Jay Van Vechten, Bash director.

 

OVER 100 PHYSICAL REHABILITATION PRACTITIONERS WILL SUPERVISE ALL ACTIVITIES

“In 2016 we will have over 100 professional physical rehabilitation professionals on site to guide young and old alike in dozens of fun games and sports adapted to each participant’s unique abilities,” says Van Vechten. Therapists from Pinecrest Rehabilitation Hospital at the Delray Medical Center, and from Memorial Hospital and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospitals in Hollywood, FL., will be joined by students enrolled in the Physical Therapy Department at Nova Southeastern University in supervising activities designed to maximize the physical and emotional well-being of participants. “We want our guests to learn practical skills and innovative exercise regimens that boost self-confidence,” he adds. “We’re still all about having fun, but want to give people something else in 2016, besides happy memories, to take home and use throughout the year.”

 

BOCA BALLET THEATRE WILL OFFER DANCE CLASSES FOR PEOPLE WITH PARKINSON’S DISEASE

A new offering to the 2016 Bash comes from the Boca Ballet Theatre. The company will introduce dance classes to help people living with Parkinson’s disease. Called BBT4PD – Dance for those living with Parkinson’s, participants who maintain mobility will be encouraged to discover how dance can enhance balance and confidence, while helping slow down the body’s deterioration process.

 

MIND BODY SPIRIT CENTER TEACHES LIFE ENHANCING YOGA AND MEDITATION

Last year the Bash was proud to introduce a Mind Body Spirit Center, where guests discovered the art of meditation and yoga. Both disciplines help people with special needs cope with the stresses of living with debilitating challenges. From wheelchair yoga to incorporating stretching and laughter into their lives, professional practitioners guide Bash guests in finding their own spiritual center that promises to help improve well-being, strength and muscle coordination.

 

BOCA RATON REGIONAL HOSPITAL AND CHRISTINE E. LYNN COLLEGE OF NURSING TO PARTICIPATE

Starting in 2016, Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s new Gloria Drummond Physical Rehabilitation Institute, set to open later this year, will have representatives at the Bash, along with student nurses from the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University. “Many of our attendees seldom see healthcare professionals for assessment and advice,” says Van Vechten. “But through interaction with medical professionals, the sharing of resources and brochures, we are taking an important step to reduce potential health risks for those among us with physical and/or intellectual challenges,” he adds. The nurses from the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at FAU will assist professionals from Boca Raton Regional Hospital in equipping guests with a carry away File of Life storage unit that features the recipient’s vital information, like current medications, pre-existing conditions, allergies and contact information. In an emergency, everything is accessible in one place.

 

MOBILITY MATS ON THE SAND MAKE THE BEACH ACCESSIBLE FOR FOLKS IN WHEELCHAIRS

Now that the City of Boca Raton has placed mobility mats on the beach at Spanish River, the Bash will be utilizing this new accessibility feature to expand offerings on the sand and in the water. From beach volley ball to sand castle building and surfing lessons, participants are encouraged to bring a swimsuit and towel this year. “We’re going to have great fun on the beach,” says Ray Shipman, former NFL linebacker with the New Orleans Saints and now director of the Memorial South Adaptive Sports Program at the Memorial Rehabilitation Institute, part of the Memorial Healthcare System. Shipman and his team are busy at work designing all sorts of fun activities involving sand and surf. On land, Tiffany Charlson, director of Recreational Rehabilitation at Pinecrest Rehabilitation Hospital at the Delray Medical Center, will be bringing her team to the park for the third year running. Tiffany and her colleagues will once again offer a dozen or more activities based on abilities, not disabilities. “We’ll have games and sporting challenges that guests of all ages are sure to love,” she says.

 

MAINSTAY BASH ACTIVITIES SET TO RETURN IN 2016

The mainstay elements of the Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities will remain steadfast in 2016. Thanks to the kindness of the membership of Boca’s own Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club, half hour boat rides on the Intracoastal will be one of the event’s most popular offerings. Guest will also receive complimentary admission and parking at Spanish River Park, thanks to the City of Boca Raton, a free BBQ lunch, a nonstop concert with numerous performing and recording artists, DJ’s providing dance music in various park locations, and a dozen costumed action heroes – including Captain America, Spiderman, Superman, Snow White and many others. A perennial favorite therapy ponies and service dogs will be there mixing with guests as well. Even Ronald McDonald will be on hand to delight youngsters with his magic tricks. A significant feature of the event will be the 30+ exhibitors drawn from across the full spectrum of disability goods and services, on hand to provide information and counseling for caregivers, family members and those with challenges.

 

500 VOLUNTEERS TO SUPPORT GUESTS

Supported by a year-round Planning Committee of 30 local volunteers, the ranks of the Bash swell to nearly 500 volunteers the weekend of the event. “We are a totally grass-roots, community-driven organization,” says Van Vechten. “Our volunteers come from local high schools and colleges, civic groups, corporations, churches and synagogues. If folks have the stamina for a full day on their feet, we’ve got a place for them,” he says.

 

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Jay Van Vechten has been a full time resident of Boca Raton since 1997. His family settled in the community in 1970. Jay spent his 40 year career in the public relations and marketing communications business in New York City. His company was among the top 30 independently owned and operated firms in the nation, with clients that included Johnson & Johnson, Hearst Publishing, New York State tourism, Tylenol, Miss Universe, Inc., the American Dental Association and Acu-Vue Contact Lenses. Disabilities changed Jay’s life when he was critically injured in a fall in 2001. Two years later he joined the City of Boca Raton Disability Advisory Board, which he went on to chair for two years. That board was recently disbanded by the city. In 2008 Jay approached the city about starting the Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities. Initially a city-driven and supported event, the city withdrew its sponsorship of the event three years later and relinquished control to Jay and his team of volunteers. The group went on to create the largest free, fun-day in the nation for kids, adults and wounded warriors. Held each March in Spanish River Park, the award winning Bash now attracts 5,000 guests annually and is supported by 500 volunteers drawn from every sector of the community. Jay and his wife Lowell have one son, Nicholas, a Triage Medic in the US Army.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Boca S(ave) O(ur) B(eaches).com is a developing movement designed to prevent the rape of our pristine, open, beaches by greedy developers. It’s already begun with the questionable approval by the city council of a previously rejected variance that limited the width of an unbuildable lot. This approval has allowed Natural Lands LLC to begin the process of constructing a 10,000 square foot and 40+’ high, ugly mcmansion on the EAST side of A1A at 2500 North Ocean Blvd. The next thing you know our beaches will look like Highland Beach, closed and defiled by greedy developers.Our beaches are our most prized asset and this assault has to be stopped. Log on to http://www.bocasob.com, sign the petition and join the movement now before it’s too late.Pete Smith

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