MORRO BAY — As the world continues to crawl its way out from under the Coronavirus Pandemic, there are several signs that life is returning to normal in Morro Bay.
Among these is the return of Project Surf Camp, a beach day camp for children and adults with special needs like autism who, along with a volunteer “buddy,” don wetsuits, learn about the ocean environment and surf.
Another sign is the return of the Junior Lifeguards Program, a beach camp run by the City’s Recreation Department. Jr. Guards, of which there are three levels, which is for kids 9-older and runs weekdays for two consecutive weeks (and is probably sold out by now).
The non-profit Project Surf Camp (PSC) is headquartered at the Coleman Park basketball court and mostly takes place on Morro Strand Beach near Morro Rock.
PSC is supported by practically every business in town, and among the more passionate about the program is Michael Williams, owner of “Movement for Life Physical Therapy,” formerly called San Luis Sports Therapy, 890 Shasta Ave., Morro Bay.
Williams has thrown an annual “Pre-4th of July” fundraising barbecue for PSC every summer for nearly two decades, and he’s reviving the event after a hiatus last summer due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
The fundraiser is on Friday, Jun. 25, at the clinic, which is across the street from the Morro Bay Library and City Hall.
The event has featured a potluck BBQ, drawings for gifts donated by local businesses, and a community blood drive. Call (805)772-4325 for details, tickets, and to donate items for the drawings.
Project Surf Campers enjoy a day in the surf with volunteers. The Project Surf Camper (in wetsuits), escort camp ‘Buddies,’ who are all smiles coming out of the water in these photos, taken during the 2016 Project Surf Camp at Morro Strand Beach. Photos contributed and by Neil Farrell
According to PSC’s website, “Our mission is to build self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-efficacy. We further provide opportunities to build social skills, improve physical fitness, develop healthy outlets for stress reduction, and foster independence. Outcomes are achieved through the modality of surf, paddleboard instruction and/or beach and aquatic activities.”
The camp is also helped in large part by community volunteers, who keep the kids safe and seem to have as much fun in the surf as the campers do.
Prices are $70 per camp day, and PSC encourages siblings and family members to participate as well. The sibling/additional family membership fee is $60. Participants may sign-up for one or more days.
PSC keeps the cost low through its extensive fundraising, grants, and community support, which includes the City’s Rec Department and the Community Foundation of Estero Bay.
The Foundation has scholarships available for needy children from the Estero Bay Area — Los Osos, Morro Bay, and Cayucos — to participate in the City’s youth sports and rec programs, including Project Surf Camp.
Visit communityfoundationesterobay.org for information about the Foundation. PSC runs on Wednesdays through Fridays, starting Jul. 14 through Aug. 7. Visit projectsurfcamp.com for information, schedule, sign-ups, or donate.