By Lisa Ackerman
Every year, I am full of excitement; it’s not Christmas or my birthday, but it is absolutely my favorite time of the year. It is PICNIC TIME!
This event is my favorite event of the year. I am happy to share with you the 9th Annual Family Picnic on Sunday, June 10th at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim, California. This fun-filled day is designed specifically for kids affected by autism, their families, and friends.
The one-of-a-kind TACA picnic features an amazing array of food (including gluten-free, casein-free items), fun carnival-like activities for kids, (including a dunk tank where daring folks over 18 can don a “TACA target”)*, 3 kid-friendly bands, a vendor resource fair, and a silent auction to help raise funds to support the over 28,000 families we serve.
This year, we have new, great activities from A.skate, Gladiator, petting zoo and ponies, and over 30 other partners to make this a great day! There is also a meet and greet with Dr. Dan Rossignol and Dr. Anju Usman. We have also been lucky to have the Taste of Fullerton join us for a special treat for those who do not require an allergen-free diet as well!
Nine years ago, a creative TACA mom proposed a family picnic just for families with autism – a day when families could be themselves, not worry about tantrums (or dirty looks), have allergy- free foods available, and play and laugh with other families “just like us” in a fun and safe environment. For my family, this was the first picnic we ever attended. The sense of community belonging we so desperately craved was restored as we enjoyed the day with many new family friends.
Since that first picnic in 2004, The TACA Family Picnic has grown from 900 to closing in on 2,000 people, and has become a Southern California family summer tradition. For my 15 year-old son Jeff, and other brave kids living with autism, it’s a day to be happy-go-lucky, to dance, laugh, and play with good friends, typical or not. It is a day with mothers, daughters, fathers, uncles, grandparents, sisters, brothers, and family friends who have all been touched by autism. For at least this one day, we are all connected.
The most beautiful part of the day is seeing the children – after a year has gone by – and to witness their amazing improvement. Each year so many kids are getting better. Their stories will melt your heart and restore your faith in miracles!!
Best of all? A family of four can spend a fun day eating and playing for less than the price of one ticket to a major theme park.
For those of you already registered – I can’t wait to see you there! For those of you who aren’t – what are you waiting for! To register: http://www.tacanow.org/store/Picnic-c-283/
Until the 10th,
For more information:
TACA Family Picnic Info page: http://www.tacanow.org/event-list/taca-family-picnic-anaheim-ca/
Watch a short previous picnic event video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7rdY63FUFA
*Dunk tank restrictions apply. All participants must sign a waiver. Bring a change of clothes!
Too bad TACA chapters in other cities don’t also have picnics – we miss out on all the fun ):
HI Picnic – Less, 😦
I have a solution!! Ask your chapter volunteers to help be on a committee to establish a picnic in your area next year!
TACA Chapter volunteers are working hard on different social events. Other chapters not only do picnics but also Fall Festivals. Watch the TACA website for details and work in your community to help find volunteers to help!!