As I entered the event space at Sloan’s Lake, I stared in wonder. Colossal bubbles wafting through the air, wriggling reptiles roaming free, eight-foot-tall pioneers moseying through the crowd, blinding white stormtroopers and some other kind of masked sci-fi character dealies I’m either too old or too unhip to have heard of. Where to even start? What kind of photographer’s dream had I just wandered into?
Another Autism Society event, that’s what.
Last year, I decided to begin volunteering for the Autism Society because of my own link to autism: my son Jury is on the spectrum. But I had no idea what a good choice I'd made - not only are they an amazing charity, I'm also continually impressed with their events. And this one was no exception.
First of all, let’s just take a small moment to talk about the reptiles.
You may have noticed that they don’t appear to be in any type of cage and that’s cause they weren’t. They weren’t, friends. They were just roaming around willy-nilly, which is equal parts awesome and terrifying. Of course, the handler assured me that they were 100% safe and although I’m sure they were, it turns out that I’m a gigantic wuss. Especially when compared to this awesome little girl who wore the snakes around her neck like a string of pearls.
I've never met a person less worried about a thing. Meanwhile, I was proud of myself that I was even able to get close enough to get the shot.
And there were tons of other, much less terrifying (for me) activities as well.
And lots of fun sensory activities and characters for the kiddos.
And then, of course, there was the walk itself. It was a hot day and still the turnout was amazing. It felt so good to be among a group of people all united by a common cause. It was somehow empowering and humbling all at the same time.