Before the chilly fall weather rolls in, members of the California-based nonprofit Waves of Impact will host a free surf camp on Cape Ann for children with special needs.

The event will be held this Saturday, Sept. 14, at Good Harbor Beach off Thatcher Road in Gloucester. The course is already full with more than 50 children participating.

Waves of Impact conducts free workshop for both special-needs children and veterans all across the country.

"The joy the children get from being in the ocean helps calm the sensory overload many routinely experience," the organization said in a prepared statement. "The kids are teamed up with a group of surfers who ride the waves with them. Other volunteers stay in the shallows to catch any lost boards and assist the children in and out of the water."

This is the second time the group has visited Cape Ann. Last year, around 60 children came out to learn how to surf.

"It went really, really well," said Dominic Olivo, owner of the Cape Ann SUP Surf Company, who helped sponsor the event. Just like last year, the Essex surf shop will be supplying boards, wet suits and additional staff to help the young surfers catch some waves.

Olivo said he was "happy to jump on board" when one of his associates reached out about the event. 

"I had worked a surf shop in New Hampshire and one of its employees held a similar event," said Olivo, "I got to see the impact first hand on how it helps the kids. It's very therapeutic. Everyone involved gets a ton of enjoyment out of it."  

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or

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