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First of all I’d like to say my summer was one of the best I have ever had. It all started at my Shadow Mountain Camp, a camp for only 5th graders in my school district and I went by myself for two days and loved it. We stayed in cabins in the mountains and played games. It was super cool. We hiked and had good food. I made some new friends and the camp director and the other people working there told stories. It was the first summer camp I ever went on and the best one.
One of the things that we did was go to St. George, a city in southern Utah. We stayed at a resort called Desert Cole with the biggest man made lagoon in the area. It was so fun. We paddle boarded at the lagoon and had a good time swimming and doing other stuff. In St. George we also saw fireworks and ate the best Peruvian food in the city.
I think my favourite part of the summer was swimming with dolphins in Florida. It was an unbelievable experience. There was even a blind dolphin and when I swam I held on to the dolphin as he pulled me across the water. We swam with dolphins at a place called Discovery Cove, an all-inclusive day resort in Orlando. They had dolphin trainers who helped me swim with the dolphins. They specialize in having these experiences for children with autism and with other disabilities too. It was an incredible experience and the trainers took care of everything for us. We even got to wear the coolest wetsuits.
One of the things that we saw at Cocoa beach was a hammerhead shark as a fisherman held it out of the water. It was so amazing and totally something out of the ordinary. We were walking along the beach when the fisherman told me and my family he had caught a hammerhead shark. He asked my mom to take a picture of him before he released it back into the ocean. My parents said it was a small one but I got close to try to see him. My sisters said he was moving his tail and shark fin. I really wished I could’ve found some shark teeth in the sand while we were there.
One of the other interesting things was baby sea turtles hatching. The same day we saw the shark, my sisters spotted baby sea turtles coming out of the sand where their eggs had been buried. We got closer and my mom told me there were lots of them crawling into the ocean. We had never seen anything like this and lots of other families stopped to look at them too. My mom took lots of videos and we made sure all of them made it into the water. It was very remarkable watching them as they made their way across the beach into the ocean.
I think this summer was officially the best one ever.
Twelve-year-old Ashton Dunford lives in Utah. He loves skateboarding, skiing and cycling. His message is simple: blind children are just capable as sighted children. Find Ashton and his mom Hilda on Instagram @ourblindside and read more about him in our Summer issue: https://ajmagazine.melangeandco.com/VGRd/p56