Caring Through Sharing the Gift of Water Sports

Jun 03 2015 sun safety Sunscreen water sports

Do you remember spending summer days on the lake when you were a kid? There’s nothing quite like the feeling of sitting in the bow of a motorboat, flying across the water with the wind in your hair or skimming the waves on water skis or just swimming and cooking out. A day spent at the lake is a perfect summer day that creates memories that last a lifetime.

Not all children get the chance to create these types of memories but Wake the World (WTW) is working to help change that. The organization helps provide a day on the lake to people who otherwise may never have the chance to be out on the water, including children from local orphanages and children’s homes, wounded warriors and people with disabilities. Wake the World holds “a day on the lake” events in 23 states across the U.S.

Being a champion water boarder, Greg Hodgin, founder and CEO of WTW, is passionate about water sports. Greg felt that abused and neglected children would greatly benefit from the experience of a day in and on the water, and in 2008, he persuaded seven other families to join him in his venture. Since then, the organization has helped create day on the lake events in more than 40 locations around the country. Some events can even provide accessibility to the boats for the disabled. This year more than 300 boats will participate in lake events around the world!

A WTW day on the lake begins in the morning with “getting to know you” activities, a full day of water sports and activities, and ends at 6 p.m. with a cookout. It’s a lot of fun for kids and volunteers alike. It is also a lot of time spent in the bright summer sun, so it is vitally important to have sunscreen available for everyone – one that is gentle to the skin and has good water resistance especially for active kids.

“I got married in Barbados and did a lot of research looking for a reliable sunscreen,” said Cary DeWhitte, co-organizer of Wake the World Alabama. “We planned to sail and be beach bums in the days before our wedding and I needed a sunscreen that I could count on. Blue Lizard held strong to the test of the Barbados sun and didn't let me down.”

When planning WTW Alabama, DeWhitte contacted Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen to see if the company was interested in partnering for the WTW Alabama event by donating sunscreen to protect the participants. Blue Lizard was happy to oblige. Not only is Blue Lizard a broad-spectrum sunscreen, but Blue Lizard Sport and Regular formulas have excellent water resistance. Periodically reapplying sunscreen during a day spent on the water is still important and DeWhitte plans to provide a good supply on every boat. This is also an excellent opportunity to teach these children about the importance of using sunscreen that will hopefully spark a lifelong ritual of practicing sun safety.

The WTW Alabama will be held on Smith Lake on June 16. It is the fifth year that the children from the Big Oak Ranch, a children’s home in Gadsden, Al., have been able to have fun on the lake. Founded by Heath Patton, the first event hosted 36 children and grew to include 96 last year.  The volunteers call it their “give back day,” but they seem to enjoy the experience as much or even more than the children do!

To find out more about the WTW and how you can help, visit their website

Written by Jo Northup