The Flotilla For Autism Awareness is back for 2021 to support Autism Ontario East Region.

(Hawkesbury) ASD United Prescott-Russell returns this year with the Flotilla for Autism Awareness on Saturday, July 10, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on the Ottawa River, between “the sand bars” stretching from L’Orignal to the Carillon Dam. In the case of rain, the event will run the following day.

The flotilla regroups boats, including pontoons, and personal watercrafts in a group ride. The fun event raises autism awareness and supports Autism Ontario, East Region.

This year the organizers are introducing a Scavenger Hunt on the water. Participants scavenge for clues and collect points to compete with the others involved. There are prizes to be won and a ton of fun to have for those participating.

“The funds help local residents with children on the Autism Spectrum to fund activities, events and respite care,” says co-organizer Nicole Taylor, a mother with an autistic son and the lead person for the East Region of Autism Ontario.

The first edition of the Flotilla for Autism Awareness was presented in 2019 as a ride from Hawkesbury to Rockland and back, with a group dinner afterwards. For 2021, organizers have shortened the distance but added the Scavenger Hunt in order to bring an interesting element and to entice the participants to explore and be aware of the beauty of our local riversides, just as they become aware of the beauty of people on the Autistic Spectrum and the fine people surrounding them on a daily basis. The event was not held in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Maximum Powersports is once again its main sponsor for the event and other sponsors are being added.

While the 2019 edition had rally points, due to COVID-19 restrictions, there aren’t any plans presently to rally or meet as a group. The situation could change if restrictions are modified or lifted before the event.

All types of watercraft are welcome to join. To register in order to receive a Scavengers Package (map, list of clues and fun things to do during the day), participants are invited to contact the organizers via their Facebook blog (@FlotillaForAutism) or call Nicole and Paul Taylor Sr at 613-371-4440. There is no entry fee. Participants are asked to make donations payable to Autism Ontario Eastern Chapter. Donations will also be accepted on the day of the event.