About Best Day Foundation

Our Mission
Best Day Foundation is a volunteer organization that helps children and young adults, ages 4 to 24, with special needs build confidence and self-esteem through safe, fun, adventure experiences.

We partner children with a Beach Buddy and guide them through a great day of challenging activities such as surfing, bodyboarding, kayaking, and snow sports.  We support kids with all types of disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, hearing or vision impairment, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries, cancer, and other physical or developmental challenges.

Depending on the location and conditions, our adventure day experiences include tandem surfing, body boarding, kayaking, stand up paddling and beach activities.

We achieve this by empowering communities across the country to offer special days at the beach and snow to children with special needs. Best Day provides back-end services, support, training, and business resources to ensure that safe, self-sufficient programs are created. The program is funded through donations, grants and sponsorships.


Best Day is a non-profit founded in March 2008 in Santa Cruz, CA by Brooks Lambert and Max Montgomery, two long-time Ride a Wave volunteers who wished to share a similar program with other communities. The first chapter was started in 2008 in New Jersey with co-chairs Alexis and Lake Downham, and Best Day grew from there to include chapters in California, Florida, and Virginia. With the passing of our founder, Brooks, in the fall of 2021, Best Day Foundation took a shift in the organizational aspect, but not in the mission or vision. Best Day now serves the communities on the Virginia and New Jersey coast.

The Board

  • Alexis Downham
    Alexis Downham President

    Passion, enthusiasm and pure joy – that’s what Best Day means to me

  • Lake Downham
    Lake Downham Chair

    Lake is a waterman, rescue & survival expert, and passionate for sharing the joy of the ocean. The thrill he gets from taking our campers surfing is the single most rewarding aspect of his life.

  • Mike Zichelli
    Mike Zichelli Treasurer

    “I love the ocean and sharing it with others. Best Day is one of my favorite things to do with my family. We cannot decide who smiles more, us or the kids.”

Best Day Foundation does not discriminate based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, marital status, military status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We believe that diversity and inclusion enhance our mission and enrich the experiences of everyone involved.

Contact Us

Thanks for connecting with us! We are a volunteer organization so sometimes it might take a day or two for us to respond.