The beach has been a place of fun and learning this summer thanks
to the Friends of the Sea Lion and El Morro Village.
Patty Humphreys Waters, director of development at Friends of the
Sea Lion and coordinator for the event, explained it is part of the
group’s outreach program and gives an ocean and marine life
experience to children who might not normally get such an
“This event brings less fortunate children and adults to the beach
for educational and fun beach-related activities,” Humphreys Waters
So far five groups have attended the program at El Morro Beach,
including Olive Crest, a home for abused children, Santa Ana Boys and
Girls Club, Community Behavioral Services for adults with
developmental disabilities, and next week a group of about 40 from
Laguna Beach Boys and Girls Club will attend. On Aug. 20, the last
group of the summer will be Orangewood, a shelter for abused
Humphreys Waters’ daughter, Sarah, 8, has been able to participate
with kids at the event.
“I’ve been to three events and I really think its great. With the
first one, which was the Santa Ana Boys and Girls Club, I met a lot
of new friends and learned a lot of new games.”
She was also excited because they saw sea lions and dolphins swim
by just when they were talking about them.
Humphreys Waters said that during this year’s program some adults
with developmental disabilities spent time at the Friends of the Sea
“They were able to share what they’ve learned about the animals
with their peers along with what they knew about other marine
Beate Litz education director at the marine mammal center
explained some of the educational games designed for the kids.
“We constructed plankton nets and collected plankton from the
water and were able to look at it under the microscope and learn
about it,” Litz said.
She said they also play a game called the sand-crab dig that
educates them about different life at sea and provides fodder for
One of the favorite activities is the day at the races. The kids
form two lines -- one side is designated as sea lions and the other
seals. They have a race in the position the animal would travel on
land. By doing this, they understood the differences between the
The Great Day at the Beach experience also allows for time to
“We allow free play time to let them run around and enjoy the
beach and enjoy themselves, especially groups like these who might
not have the opportunity otherwise,” said Litz.
The scavenger hunt is a fun way to educate kids on the cause and
effect of littering. They are told to find plastic bags, cans and
littered items. It ends up being a beach cleanup in disguise while
they’re having fun.
Afterward the volunteers go over some of the effects.
“We point them out one by one and ask how they might hurt animals
in a marine environment,” Litz said. “We ask them how they think the
trash got here. The lesson helps kids learn that although they might
not live near the beach, their actions do have an effect here.”
The children wrap up the day by going by Friends of the Sea Lion
for marine mammal viewing.
Donations cover all the costs and make the Great Day at the Beach
* SUZIE HARRISON is a reporter for the Laguna Beach Coastline
Pilot. She may be reached at 494-4321.