Outdoor Days grows into annual event for Orange County special needs children

Published 12:30 am Wednesday, October 19, 2022

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Dragon Lady Outdoor Adventures eco-tours airboat company hosted their second annual Outdoor Days event on Adams Bayou this month, which is geared toward special needs and disabled minor children and their families in Orange County.

The event was free, but registration was required.

“This event is geared towards getting these children and families outdoors to enjoy events that may not normally be appropriate for them elsewhere,” said Sallie Floyd, president and founder of Dragon Lady Outdoor Adventures.

“We offer an atmosphere of fun games, boat rides, balloon animals, face painting, food and drinks, fishing and fellowship among peers that are all welcoming. We want to be able to allow these children to explore outdoor activities and benefit from the camaraderie of others.”

The children are educated about boating safety before the fishing lessons.

“Children learned to bait a hook, cast the line and reel in the fish,” Floyd said. “There were a lot of fish caught that day. We gave away 25 awesome swag bags and fishing rod/reel combos to all the registered children. It was a fantastic turnout, with numbers being far greater than last year’s event.”

Although the first event did not attract as many participants, Floyd was encouraged to host a second event.

“My first event was paid for out of my pocket, with only one small donation,” she said. “However, volunteers just showed up. We didn’t have a lot of children at that event, but my friends, Mike Hennigan and Mark Quinn, encouraged me to make this a regular event and it became a nonprofit. So, we did it together. I was able to secure a $5,000 grant from Hancock Whitney to begin this beautiful new endeavor that we can pursue every year.”

This year, donations were made by surrounding Orange County businesses.

“Dragon Lady Airboats donated an airboat, fuel and captain for the day,” Floyd said. “Jamison Fairchild donated his boat, fuel and services for the day. Greg LeBlanc of Orange County Ice Donated water and ice. BoogeyBoyz ministry group helped with the fishing and bait. They have volunteered since the inception of the Outdoor Days and use the outdoors to reach others to share the gospel. Callie Easterly donated amazing swag bags full of goodies.”

According to Floyd, Diamondback Performance Engines donated $25 gift cards and a fishing rod/reel combo for each child. Orange County Shriners sent Randall Hetzel, AKA, Squiggles the clown, whom did balloon animals for the children.

Adrian Hebert, Mark Schulz, Jean McDaniel, Aaron Arnold were cooks for the day. Rachel Fontenot checked in volunteers and families. Megan Fontenot helped with lots of the behind-the-scenes requirements.

Dow Chemical employees helped all over. Tasha Brooks, Morgan Haynes, Arianna Dodson all did face painting.

“Many neighbors, friends and new friends that just heard about the event and wanted to be a part of it, volunteered to make the day a success,” Floyd said.

“Like ripples on water, kindness spreads.”

For more information, follow Dragon Lady Outdoor Adventures on Facebook.

— Written by Sierra Kondos