Feature Writer Karen Crowder – Camp Pride: Where Summer Fun Awaits

The Association of Blind Citizens has given many blind children and adults fantastic experiences during the past twelve years. I recently had a nice interview with their President, John Olivera, who told me about Camp Pride, a summer camp established to serve blind kids and teens.

Camp Pride is located in New Durham, New Hampshire and is part of the peaceful lakes region. It was started in the summer of 2011 with a one-week session for children ages nine through fifteen. As John said, “Volunteers staff the camp and most of the counselors are college students.” The camp is in a wooded area and counselors escort blind campers to and from there cabin to get them acquainted with the area.

The schedule at Camp Pride is stocked full of activities. Campers rise by 6:30 and breakfast is at 8:00. Activities start at 9:00 when campers are able to swim in the pristine clear lake, where there is a lifeguard to handle emergencies. At 10:30, campers change and go to arts and crafts at 10:45. The lunch break is at 12:15, when campers can expect hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, or grilled cheese sandwiches. At 1:15, there is canoeing, followed by goal ball or beep ball at 3:00. After supper, counselors and campers relax playing adaptive games like Braille monopoly, checkers, and cards. At 7:30, the program varies with zoo experiences or a talent show on another night. Campers and counselors wind down by singing and chatting around a campfire at 8:30. Bedtime is at 9:30.

When I asked about an afternoon rest hour John smiled, telling me, “When we suggested it to campers, they wanted to get to the next game or sport instead. They have boundless amounts of energy.” However, if a camper is tired and does not wish to participate in an activity, he or she can relax and read outside or in the cabin with a counselor.

So what makes this camp for the blind so unique? Campers do not have to have another disability to go there. Because of their small population they are able to give each camper more attention. Last summer, the camp had fifteen campers, making it possible for counselors and campers to bond and form quick friendships. At Camp Pride, blind campers can get more individualized attention than they would at a much larger camp.

If you want your blind child or teen to experience a week of unforgettable memories, do not hesitate to call John Olivera for this summer’s camp session. It begins on August 19 and ends on August 25. You can call him at 1-781-961-1023. You can also call the Association of Blind Citizen’s activity line at 1-781-654-2000. Look on their web site for more information about this exceptional camp at http://www.blindcitizens.org/. Check soon, as there is still availability at the camp. Do not let financial limitations stop you when listening to the activity line. Today they said the first 20 sign-ups are free.

The future looks bright for this camp. Next summer there are ideas to have a one-week session for blind adults, and I think this is a great idea, as it would give adults the chance to get involved in sports and make new friendships.

If your child went to Camp Pride last year, please share your impressions in the Reader’s Forum.

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