Jennifer Arnold was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis as a teenager and spent two years in a wheelchair. A local organization at the time trained service dogs to help people in wheelchairs, but it had a long waiting list, so Jennifer and her family went on to spend the next 10 years organizing Canine Assistants to connect people with service dogs. Canine Assistants trains dogs and places them with recipients that have physical disabilities, seizure disorders, and special needs. The dogs can assist with a variety of everyday tasks, such as turning on lights, opening doors, retrieving dropped objects, and providing companionship. Specially trained seizure-response dogs can also remain next to recipients during episodes and summon help. Canine Assistants also takes trained dogs on educational presentations around the region where they meet with students and people in hospitals to teach about disabilities. A new K-9 kids' reading program aims to motivates children to learn to read by letting them read aloud to the dogs, putting them at ease with a companion from whom they will receive no judgment.
Children under age 10 are free with parents and those ages 10–15 are $15 with their parents. From its riverside perch, the Do Da Jam Festival embraces the converging worlds of art and entertainment with myriad musical acts, artisan vendors, and Earth Day celebrations spread over a five-day shindig geared toward youngsters and adults alike. The event boasts four stages showcasing more than 50 bands, from the soulful tunes of Sol Driven Train to the soaring jazz crescendos and outer-space high-fiving of Miles from Earth. The tune-packed schedule lets rhythm fans bop to late-morning sets or middle-of-the-night concerts. Retreat to your camping space in between sets to refuel or create your own percussion band out of tent poles. Free artesian-well water is available throughout the weekend, as are family-friendly activities including river tubing, bonfires, and crashing other families' portrait sessions.
The YMCA of Coastal Georgia promotes healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility through a variety of fitness and wellness classes. Membership includes access to gymnasiums, pools, strength and cardio equipment, and group exercise classes such as Contoured Bodies at the Effingham branch, in which simple deep-muscle movements tone the body to improve posture, balance, flexibility, and the likelihood of causing nearby coworkers to sit up straighter in their chairs. Various locations host traditional yoga and flexibility-technique classes, and Zumba classes fuse energetic music with calorie-burning dance moves for a lively workout experience. Groupon buyers also receive $25 to use toward classes, programs, and benefits not included in the monthly membership, such as a 30-minute massage from a licensed massage therapist ($25 for members), or a fall youth soccer session ($50+ for members) that teaches good sportsmanship, the value of exercise, and the importance of being able to manipulate a large object with one's forehead.
In WhirlyBall, participants maneuver free-range bumper cars and use a handheld scoop to collect wiffle balls to launch at the overhead targets located on either end of the court. You'll work together in teams of up to five at a time (up to 20 players are allowed on the court at once, and at least 10 are required) to crush your opponents in a whirlywind of scoops and balls. Surrounded by safety bumpers, your vehicle enjoys a complete range of motion with powerful steering that allows you to turn on a whim or a dime. If more than 20 Whirlers are in the party, players can be rotated in and watch from the comfort of leather lounge couches instead of gathering posterior splinters on the end of a rigid bench.