One of my children is a teenage boy who severely suffers with anxiety in social situations. Due to this, in recent years it has unfortunately resulted in him spending all of his free time indoors, with only his family. The majority of this time is on his own spent in his bedroom, not wanting to mix with others or having any time enjoying himself doing outdoor activities.
As a young boy he loved going to the beach and swimming in the sea, the only time recently he would feel comfortable and happy leaving the house to do something was when I would take him to the beach in the summer evenings at high tide, (when it was empty) to go for a swim. I too am a strong believer in the benefits purely just by being in the sea has, I have seen this for myself with him.
When we got the date for the first session, of course my son was worried and apprehensive. However, as soon as he met everyone he automatically relaxed. The team were extremely friendly and very approachable. When he was in the water he had the hugest smile and I could see for the first time in a long time my child outside, actually enjoying himself and having fun! It is hard to put into words how happy as a mum this made me feel.
After it ended I’m not ashamed to say I had to try really hard and hold back the tears, as it meant so much for him to have had this experience with them. He enjoyed it so much that his own words were that “I didn’t want it to end, when can I next come?”
When I first heard about Healing Waves, to say I was extremely eager for it to begin is an understatement. I thought this might be the one activity after exhausting a list of others, that he may go to and actually enjoy and feel comfortable.
The approach and professionalism from the guys from start to finish is amazing; sending through personal profiles so he could read up on whom he’d be meeting, all of which made it easier for him. They also asked for an overview about him, so they were prepared for the first session without having to ask questions in his presence.
He had another session with them on the beach before the end of the season and enjoyed it equally as much; along with attending a session at the Merton on the Flow Rider just before Christmas. As an entire family we are extremely grateful to Healing Waves, if it was not for them he would have spent his entire summer holidays indoors without having done any outdoor activities he enjoyed.
I whole-heartedly praise them for setting up this charity, the time and effort that they give voluntarily along with all their helpers and hope that they can appreciate how thankful we are to them all. We are lucky that Jersey has these guys here, reaching out and doing what they do for so many people in the short time they’ve been going.
Jack has always enjoyed the water and swimming. However, over the past couple of years he had shied away from going in the sea. This all changed when Jack was invited to try surfing with Healing Waves; he took the experience with great enthusiasm.
The volunteers are all great, experienced surfers and very patient. Watching all of the ‘potential’ surfers taking to the water was such a happy experience. It just shows what can be achieved with patience and encouragement. As a mum it was so good to know that Jack was completely safe, as he has had to be collected in the past by the lifeguards when venturing out too far on his body board.
Jack then went on to try the Flow Rider at the Merton Hotel. Jack managed to stand and stay up! It was brilliant and so much fun. Jack cannot wait to take to the water again with Healing Waves when the weather and water warm up a little, Thanks guys!
A huge thank you to Healing Waves! It was such a perfect end to our summer to have an afternoon of surfing. The change in my son from an introvert into someone wanting and willing to join in activities with others, has been greatly helped by the incredible founders and volunteers of Healing Waves. This began when he had his first surfing session at St Ouen, he was absolutely thrilled, a different boy, confident and smiling.
During the colder months activities have been continued at the Merton on the Flow Rider. Healing Waves has made such a difference to so many youngsters who want to join in with their peers, but find it really difficult. I cannot thank the incredible team enough for their patience, understanding and encouragement. They are all brilliant people who are so happy to offer their endless time, support and always with a smile. I am so grateful to them for giving my son the chance to enjoy the sea and some of the activities others take for granted.
My son is not the only one to have benefited from Healing Waves. Both his sister and I have also thoroughly enjoyed meeting fellow parents and siblings in a very relaxed environment. Cups of tea and biscuits are always plentiful, with volunteers always on hand to introduce new faces into the fold. The team put so much thought into organising different and appropriate activities, taking the time to group like minded children together; so as everyone enjoys themselves to the max. It truly is a joy to watch a sometimes quiet, reserved child come out of themselves with such confidence and shine!
Well done Healing Waves! Many, many thanks from all the children, parents and carers who I know feel the same as I do. We are all so lucky to have benefited from your incredible charity and be a part of the ever-growing community you are creating.
Roll on the summer, looking forward to more. THANK YOU!!!