A new event to Vernon is creating smiles for kids with autism while colouring the town.
The highly anticipated Easter Seals Splash of Colour Family Fun Run comes to town April 19 at Kin Beach.
The unique, new run is literally a colourful experience as participants are showered with coloured powder – a different colour at each of the five colour stations.
All the fun of the event also extends excitement to local kids living with autism by supporting Easter Seals Camp Winfield.
Eight-year old Jacob Crombie of Winfield is one very enthusiastic attendee of Easter Seals Camp Winfield. He attended Camp Winfield for a week last summer. Jake has autism, making life as most kids know it a lot more challenging.
Jake’s mom, Diane Crombie, has been a long-time volunteer supporter of Easter Seals; this year as volunteer captain at the event which is also taking place in Kelowna.
“I am really excited to join Splash of Colour,” said Diane. “We just love Camp Winfield. One of the great things that Easter Seals does is that they have a New Camper weekend so every kid has the opportunity to try this out for two days in June. Jake, then six, did not want to leave when I picked him up. He was absolutely buzzing, dragging me around and wanting to show me everything.”
Diane enthusiastically added, “The big thing about camp is that it’s not about your differences, it’s about allowing kids to be who they are instead of separating them away from the group due to their individual challenges. Everyone is all together and has an amazing time. Many of the kids spend a lot of time in therapy, so for them this is their break. It’s not about their picture schedule or behavioural interventions – camp is about just being a kid.”
Jake adds: “I love Camp Winfield because I get to go swimming, and make new friends and go underwater!”
Kids with autism crave socialization, but have difficulty doing so.
“Socially, kids with autism often really have a hard time,” said Diane. “Other kids might find him odd or weird but at camp Jake is just like everyone else. He has made so many friends and connections and no one is judging him or treating him as different.”
It’s a nice break not just for Jake, but for his family knowing he’s in good hands.
“It really is one of the best run camping programs I’ve ever seen.”
If you want to help other kids like Jake, support the inaugural Easter Seals Splash of Colour Family Fun Run April 19 in Vernon.
Entries are $35 and include sunglasses and a white T-shirt. Participants can also fundraise a minimum of $50 to have the entry fee waived.
Kids six and under are free but must bring their own white T-shirt and sunglasses. The Vernon Lions Club is putting on a pancake breakfast by donation at 8 a.m.
The run, which will be less than five kilometers, starts at 10 a.m. at Kin Beach.
Those taking part also have a chance at an array of prizes, from Atlantis Waterslides passes and Starting Block gear to accommodation at Sparkling Hills and a pair of return tickets from Kelowna to Whitehorse courtesy of Air North.
Prizes will be awarded to most funds raised, overall winner, most courageous costumes, most creative team name and most colourful.
Sign up as a volunteer, participant or sponsor at www.splashofcolour.ca.