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AUSOME Kentucky Derby Fundraiser in Surrey April 29 to Raise Funds for Autism Surf Camp

AUSOME Kentucky Derby Fundraiser in Surrey April 29 to Raise Funds for Autism Surf Camp

Surrey, BC April 11, 2017 | The SUPA Society is holding a Kentucky Derby themed fundraiser on April 29th to raise funds for the events Surf’s Up and Autism Skate Day. The event will be held at the Elements Casino in Cloverdale and will feature a buffet dinner, a mock Kentucky Derby race, a silent auction, mystery balloons, 50/50 draw, prizes for best hat, and more! Tickets are $40 each and can be purchased via Eventbrite

The Surf’s Up Camp ( facebook ) in Tofino, British Columbia is a grassroots initiative started by Surrey dad Dennis Nerpio, whose son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, at age four. Dennis, a surfer himself, took his son to the beach one day about six years ago, and discovered something magical: not only did his son enjoy the beach, but surfing with his dad took him out of the context of being an autistic child and provided him a new sense of freedom.

Dennis was inspired by his son and wanted other children with autism to experience the same. He set a date, began making phone calls, and about one year later, Surfs Up surf camp was off to a start.

Surf’s Up began 2012 with a plan to have 12 kids with autism plus their siblings for a one-day surf camp. The event has gained attention over the years, and as the wait list grew, reaching 30 families, Dennis decided to ramp it up. In 2015 it grew to 56 kids with ASD plus siblings and from 1 day to a 2 day event. Last year over 100 children participated in Surf’s Up and another 45 were in Sk8 day.

One autism therapist and one surf instructor is assigned to each family. Each child is guided on the waves for an hour of surf. They may sit on the front of a longboard with a life-vest, or be pushed into waves by themselves close to the shore, depending on what suits them best.

A total of 90 kids participated in last year’s event, which includes all siblings as well. Dennis and the organizing team feel that including siblings is important, to help both build a bond and share in on the fun. Siblings often get left out of the fun things that their brother or sister with ASD get to do.

Surf’s Up is an inclusive event that encourages participation from the whole family. The event continues growing with rave reviews from the participants. The event is described as one of the best of the year, with “magical” moments of joy and freedom. Surf’s Up allows the children and the families to be free of concern and to “let loose,” to enjoy the exhilarating fun of the waves. It’s that simple.

“I think being in an environment where the kids are accepted and not judged and encouraged by everyone surrounding them is special,” Dennis explains. “At the end of the day when we give out awards for all the kids including the siblings they are just stoked!”’

Inspired by Dennis’ sons’ love of skateboarding, Autism Skate Day has grown into an annual event as well. It is in its’ third year and in June will be held at the Pacific Autism Family Network in Richmond, The SUPA Society depends on fundraising initiatives to fund both of these amazing events that provide a unique experience for children with autism and their families.

For information about Kentucky Derby Fundraiser benefiting SUPA Society contact Dennis Nerpio at and 604-319-4858. Anyone interested in learning more about the Surf’s Up and Autism Skate Day events can visit the SUPA Society website

About The Author

Surrey604 Staff

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.


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