At some point in everyone’s life individuals find themselves overwhelmed by the intensity of their emotions which are difficult to face either by themselves or with others. Vision loss only intensifies the feelings of isolation, helplessness, and threatened loss of independence. Overcoming these emotions begins with understanding them; Camp Sight offers participants an opportunity to explore these intense thoughts and feelings in a supportive environment.
Camp sight will provide adjustment to blindness support and instruction by offering the young adults a variety of learning experiences and social experiences. Camp Sight is a program for blind and visually impaired youth age 11-21. The children will learn a multitude of life skills at camp including socialization skills, arts and theater enrichment, food preparation, cooking and eating skills, cleaning techniques, personal hygiene and health, access technology, communication skills, conflict resolution, and orientation and mobility. The program has a cost of $1000 per child. The program must provide all of the activities, lunch, snacks, and transportation to and from Camp Sight each day.
The program will offer art therapy- according to the American Art Association art therapy is based on the belief that the creative process of art is both healing and life enhancing. Art therapy will be used at Camp Sight to increase insight, judgment, cope better with stress, increase cognitive abilities, and build relationships with friends. Art therapy helps maintain metal health and emotional well being. Camp Sight participants will express themselves through the use of art materials such as paint, clay, chalk, and markers at a local art facility each week.
Adjustment to Vision Loss activities will focus on helping the children to be independent, increase their confidence, and help them to build trusting relationships with their peers. Activities will include:
- Relay Race to determine what skills these children already have and what we need to focus on. The relay race will include bed making, dish washing, opening locks, setting a table, putting tooth paste on a tooth brush, money identification, tying their shoes, using buttons, snaps, and zippers, and etc. These activities will be supervised by trained staff to identify the needs of each individual. We will then work with each of them to master the task independently.
- Lunch each day will be a learning experience for camp participants. They will be given the task of preparing lunch each day. They will work both as teams and alone. They will learn the proper way to cook. They will learn measuring, pouring, cutting, organization in the kitchen, how to use the stove and the oven. They will learn about setting their own kitchens up with contrasting colors. They will learn how they can re-label cans and jars with tactile markings.
- Traveling will be made a priority for the program. Individuals will learn how to use the public transportation system; they will be able to take the bus to the Farmers Market where they will navigate through the market by using sighted guide or a white cane. They will put other skills to use by being able to manage their money for the day. They will depart the Farmers Market and enjoy an afternoon of entertainment by going to the movie theater. They will learn how to purchase movie tickets and proper behavior in a theater. They will have an opportunity to go on a Charter Bus to New York City to visit a blind theater group.
- An obstacle course will be set up so the young adults will put their skills to the test by using travel techniques to find their way through bushes, narrow passage ways, etc. The obstacle course will increase their abilities to travel independently and establish trust in others as they will work in teams of 2.
- Sensory activities will be in place to teach the participants about all of their senses and how to be aware of their surrounding.
- Access technology will inform the participants about the different types of technology available for people who are blind or visually impaired. For example- enhanced image devices provide a way of using printed material. Participants will learn about a variety of CCTVs, which are used to enlarge print; and will have an opportunity to use the equipment. They will learn about screen reading and screen magnification software; programs such as JAWS and Zoom Text will be demonstrated. Students will also learn about Braille access. They will sample Braille note takers, Braille printers, etc.
- The program offers recreational activities too to help these participants build relationships, exercise, and have fun. Activities will include trips to allow the participants the opportunity to swim, hike, play ball, and etc.
- The participants will also have a day at the Hazleton Red Cross to learn emergency planning, CPR, and first aid.
- Other activities are a day at the Learning Tree, a trip to Velocity, the JCC, Francis Slocum Park, VITAL House, and Tiger House
The program is filled with educational and recreational activities to allow blind and visually impaired youth to adjust to blindness while learning and having time for fun. Often blind and visually impaired young ones are kept out away from activities that sighted children are doing because of fear for the children’s safety. Blind and visually impaired children are capable of such activities but are often isolated from them. This program will offer many opportunities for blind and visually impaired young adults to be creative, independent, and have fun.