The nation’s largest annual, free-event for people with physical and/or intellectual challenges, the Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities, will take place on Saturday, March 16, 2013, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM, at Spanish River Park, A1A in Boca Raton, FL. The event is open to all ages with physical and/or intellectual disabilities, their caregivers and family. More than 5,000 attendees are expected.
Now in its fifth year, the Bash continues to set new standards in celebrating diversity in America. All funding for the Bash is raised from local citizens, foundations and corporations. For the last two years, the Bash was also voted the Best Community Service Project in South Florida by the Gold Coast PR Council.
As the Boating & Beach Bash has grown, so has its reach. Starting as a City of Boca initiative, the Bash was released in 2011 to stand alone. Now it boasts strategic alliances across Florida, beginning with Wounded Warriors In Action Foundation of Apollo Beach, to Dade County and Shake A Leg Miami, the foremost water sports center for people with disabilities, to Fort Lauderdale and the Starlight Children’s Foundation, and finally to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Palm Beach and Martin Counties.
“Our goal is to reach as many families facing disabling challenges as we can serve,” says Bash Founder and Director Jay Van Vechten. In 2009 the Bash hosted 350 guests. By 2012 that number climbed to 4496 attendees, 501 volunteers, and 30 yachts, donated for the day by their generous owners, members of Boca’s Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club. The privately owned yachts, captained by Coast Guard certified crews, offer FREE rides throughout the day to Bash participants. Guests are also treated to live entertainment, a BBQ lunch and numerous fun activities.
In 2012, the doors to the VA Hospital in WPB were opened to the Bash, allowing it to invite all 400 Purple Heart recipients, and their families, living in South Florida, to be its guests for the day. “We want our heroes to know they can come to this event, meet old friends and find a secure, environment where they and their families can spend a safe, fun day together, celebrating the good things of life,” says Van Vechten.
Bash organizers are still seeking donations, sponsorships and volunteers. Tax deductable donations should be made out to Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation, a 501c3 and Bash partner. Write Bash on the memo line of the check. Donations should be mailed to: Boating & Beach Bash, PO BOX 99, Boca Raton, FL 33429. PayPal is also available via the Bash website: www.boatingbeachbash.com. Follow the Bash on Facebook @ Boating & Beach Bash for People with Disabilities. For more information, please visit or www.boatingbeachbash.com. or call 561.715.2622, or write firstname.lastname@example.org.