Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Note: Staff members from the Camp Abilities CT program are providing their insight on learning about working with children with visual impairments.

I have had the opportunity to partake in my first camp abilities this week. Before this camp I have had no experience working with kids with vision impairment. Coming into the camp I had no idea what to expect. At first, I was very overwhelmed with understanding how the camp was structured, my responsibilities, and what the appropriate way to treat the campers and their impairments. Before the training session I received a briefing of the campers and the style of the camp from Robbin, the camp director. I felt that conversation was very helpful. I didn’t get a lot out of information initially out of it, but it allowed me to understand a lot more at the official training session.
I believe Camp Abilities Connecticut was a great place for me to have my first camp. The looseness of the camp fit in exactly to my personality. I am extremely easy going and fun loving. The flexibility of the camp fits in great by allowing me to jump around and see the different councilors in action and forming close relationships with the campers. A combination of the detailed training session and the ability to watch others allowed me to pick up the basics skills and knowledge to be a productive councilor. One thing in particular that really helped me out was the conversations after hours with my peers. Speaking about different experiences people have had and how they reacted to certain situations gave me valuable information to act accordingly in a leadership position.
I have noticed a couple of the difficulties of running a camp for children with vision impairment. One thing I noticed was the grouping of different levels each of the kids where at. The different levels caused some kids to become bored quickly, and other kids had a tough time to developing the necessary skills to play the game effectively. I think if the groups were formed with kids in similar skills would make the overall effectiveness of the camp increase. Another difficulty is the reliance the kids place on friendships with the councilors and not their peers. It was extremely helpful that the camp director brought this problem to our attention. It is clear that the majority of these kids have trouble with social interaction with other campers. Discussing this problem is an important step in maximizing each child’s experience. Councilors should encourage the kids to ask each other questions and put themselves out there is extremely important to help push the kids in forming relationships with their peers.
The camp was an amazing experience. Having a background in the corporate world the camp taught me how to have fun again. It taught that there is nothing that can hold you back. After seeing these kids face their fears and doing it without the ability to see opens one’s mind to all the possibility out in the world if you are willing to go out of your comfort zone. If someone would ask me to do another camp like this, I wouldn’t hesitate to accept.

Chris Bub

Chris is the staff member on the far left, back row.


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