Author: Jen Franklin Kearns, ds-connex team member
Walk Profile: 2016 DSACT Buddy Walk®
Walk Date: Sunday, October 23, 2016
Who: Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas
Location: Reunion Ranch; Georgetown, TX
Walk Registration Website: http://www.ds-stride.org/dsactbuddywalk
Organization Website: http://www.dsact.org
“The DSACT Buddy Walk® is like Christmas. After it’s over each year, you’re always looking forward to when it’s going to happen again,” say Rachel Walker and Ashley Whitt of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas (DSACT). This year marks the 17th year for the annual DSACT Buddy Walk®, which will be held on Sunday, October 23 at the scenic Reunion Ranch.
There are so many activities at the walk; there will be something for everyone! Activities include: a zip line, paddle boarding, pony rides, a visit from a Starflight helicopter along with a SWAT car and a firetruck, and more! Each year participants will tailgate prior to the walk with their teams, friends and family. “There are people everywhere. Our walk isn’t until the second portion of the day, giving attendees the opportunity meet and chat with friends. It’s a pretty relaxed atmosphere,” they share.
The event culminates with the awareness walk, getting everyone together to walk in solidarity to celebrate the local Down syndrome community. “I think every year it’s always great to see the families who are participating for the first time,” says Rachel. “They usually turn out to have the biggest teams. It’s just really amazing to see them garnering all of their friends and family to support them when a year before then, they were in a new world with so much uncertainty. At the walk, they see there is a community for them, welcoming them with open arms.”
The Buddy Walk® is a vital source of funding for the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas. The organization has 20+ recreational classes it offers ongoing throughout the year including: swimming, martial arts, cooking, acting, etc. The walk helps DSACT offer these opportunities to all ages for a low cost. Additionally, the walk funds speech therapy programs, a medical outreach program, bi-monthly workshops for parents, social group outings, resources to new parents, and other activities DSACT provides to its members throughout the year.
This year, the team at DSACT has a goal of raising $200,000 through the Buddy Walk®. They hope to see more and more teams embrace team fundraising and see the ripple effect of their efforts in dollars raised and participants who attend on walk day. The more funds raised, the more opportunities DSACT will be able to continue to offer its network throughout the year, furthering its mission in the local community.
To show your support for DSACT and the DSACT Buddy Walk, please visit their fundraising site at http://www.ds-stride.org/dsactbuddywalk. To learn more about the DSACT, please visit http://www.dsact.org.
This post is a continuation of our Down Syndrome Walk Profile series. We’ll be profiling and highlighting Down Syndrome Walks from around the country in an effort to share the stories and experiences that make Down syndrome communities so vibrant and unique. Check back for future posts in this series coming soon.