So far, you’ve met Vann Horne and Jose Solorio - who are both very special to us here at Coastal Adaptive Sports. But this post will pay tribute to one of our influential adaptive sports and recreation volunteers - Kelly Dailey.
Kelly Dailey is originally from Connecticut, but moved to South Carolina in 2007. She is married with two teenage girls, and her whole family loves to volunteer at our events.
When asked how long she’s been with Coastal Adaptive Sports as an adaptive sports and recreation volunteer, Kelly told us that she’s been with the organization since about 2013-2014. It’s hard to remember the details when you’re having fun and changing lives!
- Describe your first experience with Coastal Adaptive Sports.
Kelly: I had a significant leg injury that put me in a wheelchair for 8 months. At the time, I was teaching with Luke Sharp and was in a very bad place in my head since I couldn’t do the same things like I used to. But Luke told me that I should come out to one of the surfing events to get over myself and realize things were going to be okay. So my family went to a surfing event to see what it was like. We all ended up getting in the water. I didn’t trust my body because of my injury, but I was welcomed with open arms to do whatever I was able to do. From that moment on, me and my entire family were hooked, and we haven’t missed an event since. We do as much as we possible can not only to participate, but also to advocate for those with special needs and disabilities.
- What’s your favorite part about participating/volunteering with Coastal Adaptive Sports?
Kelly: Seeing the pure joy that people get. We’re able to give them adaptive sports and recreation opportunities that they wouldn’t usually be able to get. The fear of the unknown just washes away. You can’t put words to the joy that you see on their faces.
- What would you tell others (participants or volunteers) who are hesitant about signing up with Coastal Adaptive Sports?
Kelly: As a participant, we’re there to meet you where you are, even if it's just putting your feet in the water or laying down on the board. You don’t have to go out into the ocean the first time. We’re not just going to throw you out there and say “good luck;” we do everything with the individual in mind. Some say “let’s go big or go home” but there are others who haven’t had their feet in the sand or in the water in over a decade, so they’re fearful of the unknown. But, we encourage them to give it a try because they’ll never know until they do try.
As an adaptive sports and recreation volunteer, you don’t have to get in the water. There are so many roles that we play, like merchandising, pushing wheelchairs, keeping time, etc. You don’t have to love the water or be a good surfer. We just need your heart and body to be in the right place and you’ll make such a difference. It will change your life.
- How has Coastal Adaptive Sports helped you?
Kelly: I was in a very bad place in my head. I was a runner - that was my coping mechanism for day to day stress and to escape, and I can never run again. So, Coastal Adaptive Sports has given me insight into the fact that I can do other things to release that stress, to escape, and to provide a service to others. For me, it’s become second nature. This is just what I do. Any opportunity that I get to share this organization with people, I do. I tell parents of the students I teach to bring the students out to the events because it gives a sense of community. We all need a sounding board - the amount of friendships that have developed through this organization is amazing. We’re all people at the end of the day.
- Anything else you’d like to add?
Kelly: Last summer, my husband and I went to Costa Rica with Coastal Adaptive Sports. Our goal was to facilitate a program for the people in Costa Rica to do the same thing we do in North Myrtle Beach. A group of about 10 of us spent 7 days there, and only one of us spoke Spanish so there was a language barrier. But, even with the language barrier, the people we worked with have remained in contact with us. I get a message about 1-2 times a month thanking us for what we did there, and they have continued to have events there at least once a month. Coastal Adaptive Sports isn’t just in North Myrtle Beach and Horry County, but they’ve gone worldwide. You don’t realize the impact you’re truly making until you see it as a whole. When you’re doing what you love, it doesn’t seem like work. Looking back, that experience was something I can pass down to my children and grandchildren - that I was part of something that changed peoples’ lives forever. We get the joy of making an impact all the time. It’s such a gratifying experience.
If you’re interested in being an adaptive sports and recreation volunteer with CAS, be sure to contact us and sign up for an event! You can also view our events calendar to see when and where we’ll be this year!
Wanna get involved? You may also volunteer to help out with a Coastal Adaptive Sports event by clicking here.