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By: Briana Philippi, NBCF Summer Camp Counselor

When people normally hear the words “visually impaired,” they don’t really think about the possibilities visually impaired and blind children have to experience activities and the environment of a summer camp similar to those with vision. Although they may be different, the adapted summer camp offered by Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation (NBCF) presents experiences that are similar to a typical summer camp. Over the years I have been to different summer camps run by other organizations but none of them compare to my experience with the children at NBCF’s Discovery Days Summer Camp. Run as two, one week camps, the first week, June 13-17 marked my inaugural experience as a Camp Counselor for their summer camp. 

            Monday, June 13, marked a new beginning for me. It was the first day of camp. From seeing familiar faces to being introduced to new ones, from various age groups, camp began. With about 15 campers, possibilities and experiences seemed endless. From teaching and assisting the campers how to make bunny rabbits out of washcloths to making sand dollar necklaces out of clay and sea shells, I thought the day started out rewarding. However, it wasn’t until later in the day when the teenage campers created an obstacle course, explained the route to those younger, and helped guide them through it that my eyes were opened. Seeing the different age groups interact and learn creative activities in just one day brought new expectations to me for camp.


            Fast forward to Wednesday, our first field trip, the Lake Mead Outdoor Education Experience Day for all the campers at Lake Mead’s Visitor Center. That was a trip in itself. Although it was only a four hour trip, the experience not only impacted the campers but also me as a Camp Counselor. I was never really one to fully take my time in visitor centers like Lake Mead’s but sight-guiding some of the campers allowed my to show them environmental and wilderness aspects in Nevada and Lake Mead in a unique way. From learning about the basic history of Lake Mead alongside the wildlife present to also learning about the different environmental aspects and being able to feel each, the campers grouped together got to experience learning in a fun way that was adapted to them.

            Throughout the week, a set time was scheduled for activities set around water fun. From color-filled balloon wars with squirt guns to water table games and plain water fights, the campers enjoyed cooling off in the Las Vegas heat. They, however, were not the only ones who enjoyed cooling off. The laughs and happy screams both the campers and counselors made an auditory way to gauge how much fun each of us were having. Later on in the week, on Thursday, the kids were scheduled to create foam bugs. However, instead of following confusing directions, the other camp counselors and I altered the arts and crafts program to allow the kids some creativity and create their own monster bugs. Seeing the various styles of foam monster bugs mirrored the creativity each camper possesses.The smiles on their faces mirrored the amount of fun the campers had while creating their foam monster bugs.

            From the various arts and crafts activities alongside green box projects to water fun, Sports and STEM, week one of NBCF’s Discovery Days Summer Camp provided an abundance of experiences I would have not been able to receive anywhere else. 



 


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07/18/2016 7:36am

You really made wonderful insights and discoveries with your experience. Being able to socialize and interact with blind children can be really mind opening. Not only do you help them have fun, but you also help yourself realize your own worth. It makes you realize how imperfect some people are and how benefited you are on your own aspects. I wish I could also experience the same event you've been thru, I would really learn a lot from these special people.

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10/05/2016 5:46am

Being visually impaired doesn't always mean that the person is blind. There are a lot of classification of being visually impaired for example, being near-sighted, far-sighted or being wall-eyed. These are only a few examples of being visually impaired. I think this camp had given justice to children who have these kinds of impairment. They have helped these children to be more independent and to live their lives to the fullest.

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