Leading a healthy lifestyle can help a person have more energy and stamina, stay fit, be more alert, fight stress and live a longer life. A healthy lifestyle includes regular exercise. Everyone should have opportunities for physical activity. Children with physical & developmental disabilities benefit from engaging activities too, however evidence suggests that youth with special needs have decreased physical activity compared to their peers. Youth with disabilities face certain challenges. Best Day provides youth, who are between the ages 4-24, with an opportunity to overcome these challenges and to build confidence and self-esteem through safe, fun, adventure activities like surfing, boogie boarding, kayaking, outrigger canoeing and more. Best Day events benefit the community as well as the volunteers who make the events possible. Best Day has chapters in Southern California and on the East Coast, but it does not have a chapter in Santa Barbara. It is the goal of this Emerald Star project to help establish Best Day in Santa Barbara and to help set the path for the continued involvement of 4-H in future Best Day events.
How will 4-H help?
With the support of the 4-H civic engagement grant and Santa Barbara County 4-H members, Best Day events will be brought to Santa Barbara on Saturday and Sunday, September 28 and 29 at Leadbetter Beach. Working together with volunteer professionals of the Best Day Foundation, 4-H members will show their true 4-H spirit by pledging their head, heart, hands and health to a day of service as beach buddies to Best Day participants supporting, engaging and interacting with youth with special needs in a day of safe, fun water and beach activities. While this recreational engagement and interaction will help youth with disabilities feel safe and cared for by their community, volunteers involved in this event will be able to increase their understanding of and compassion for children with special needs and disabilities. You can learn more about Best Day here.>.
The Best Day events in Santa Barbara were very successful! Participants, their families and volunteers all benefited from these events. The self-esteem and confidence of the participants increased as they were engaged in activities never before experienced. Families were given respite care once they felt assured when they saw the smiling faces of their children who were having a great time in the safe care of compassionate volunteers. The volunteers who helped to bring these events together also benefited by knowing they were able to make a difference in the lives of these special youth! The involvement of Santa Barbara County 4-H has helped set the path for the continued participation of its members in future Best Day events not only locally but wherever a 4-H member might see the possibility of working to make these Best Day events in their area a reality for youth with special needs.