Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This week I am sharing from students. I love asking them to contribute to my blog. They have such great insight and remain my favorite teachers for children with vision impairments. This week we are delighted to read from my student Cody. As most of you know, he is amazing and is a senior in high school. He's going to be a TVI and volunteers at a number of camps including Camp Abilities CT and Alaska (feel free to donate to his Alaska fundraising effort right here on The Bee...). This is his perspective on going away to camp. I want all my parents to read this!!

Hey Everyone,
I’m going to tell you a little story.  When I was 9, my parents arranged for me to go to a summer camp for children with vision impairments.  As much as I hated the thought of being away from “Mommy and Daddy” for a whole week, I was having fun the minute I got there.  I went back to the same camp year after year and this will be my 9th year (this time as a counselor).  Camp I think is an experience that is helpful for every child.  It helps the child be more independent, more social and to become familiar with an unfamiliar environment.  It’s like a little real world mockup.  
There are many summer Camp Programs around the country (such as the one I went to when I was 9) that cater especially to children with vision impairments.  These programs focus on independent living skills, orientation and mobility skills and there are too many types to count.  There are sports camps, music camps, outdoor education camps, wrestling camps and there is even a space camp and all are designed for children with vision impairments.  
There are so many benefits to these types of programs that there is no way I can name all of them but one big one that stands out is that they allow legally blind children meet other kids who are just like them.  In my school I am the only person I know with a vision impairment but at camp everyone has a vision impairment.  IT’S AWESOME!  The leadership opportunities, the skills being taught and the family component, it’s all there.  To parents who have visually impaired children I would say “There is no better experience than CAMP”!  


My editor note: This is Cody and Justin (APE teacher, has posts right here on The Bee) at Camp Abilities CT 2010. We are actually having one of my favorite moments of camp when this picture was taken. Cody was the Senior CIT. He has progressed in his leadership and was the Student Supervisor (responsible for all the CITs at Camp CT 2011). FUN TIMES!!
Some great examples are:
Camp Abilities A sports camp with locations around the world.
Camp Inter-Actions A music and arts camp in Georges Mills New Hampshire
Adirondack Experience VI Teens An outdoor education camp in upstate NY
SCI-VIS A Space Camp in Huntsville Alabama
All of these camps are designed for children with vision impairments.

For more information---
Camp Inter-Actions, http://inter-actions.org/
Camp Abilities Brockport (New York State & info on other Camp Abilities programs): http://www.campabilitiesbrockport.org/
Camp Abilities CT (for CT students only): http://www.campabilitiesct.org/

Camp Abilities CT is currently recruiting for 2012! See our site for the application!!http://www.campabilitiesct.org/

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