Summer Camps for the Blind and Visually Impaired

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Summer is finally here and with it comes a variety of camp options for children, teens and adults in your family who are blind or visually impaired. From nature-focused programs filled with outdoor adventures to camps with an emphasis on job-training and college-prep, participants will have ample opportunities for enrichment and interaction with others who face similar challenges. The goal of each of these camps is to strengthen the independence and self-confidence of those who attend.

Enrollment is under way for summer camp programs now so you’d better get moving.

Image showing a lake-shore with canoes and a dock in the background

Let’s start off with our friends at Lions Clubs International. They sponsor several special needs camps both here in the U.S. and around the world.


National Camps for Blind Children®

National Camps for Blind Children® have various locations across the United States and Canada and is affiliated with Christian Record Services for the Blind. They are FREE for children who are blind and/or legally blind, except for a small nonrefundable processing fee of $35! Children aged 9+ and whose corrected vision is no better than 20/200 are welcome to register. Fun and adventure provide motivation, recreation, and education with activities such horse riding, tandem cycling, canoeing, archery, talent programs, and much more.


The Carroll Center for the Blind Summer Youth Programs – Newton, MA

A variety of programs are available for students aged 6 to 21. The camps help students develop socially, academically, and independently during the summer. Programs include travel skills development, technology training, first summer job experience & a college prep program.


Camp Inter-Actions – Plymouth, MA

Camp Inter-Actions has changed locations from Concord, NH to Plymouth, MA and provides boys and girls (ages 8-15) who are blind or visually impaired with a traditional summer camp experience. Some of the more popular activities at this camp include swimming, boating, fishing, adapted sporting games, arts and crafts, woodworking, pottery, music, leadership skills, and daily living skills. Each activity is designed in a safe and fun environment for the children.


Summer Work Experience Program through Oregon Commission for the Blind – Portland, OR & Salem, OR

This one is for teens and young adults only (ages 16-21). The goals of the Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP) are to promote work readiness and build confidence amongst the teens who attend. Teens get a fun and effective approach in learning more about the major decisions they will face in college and the work place.


The Oral Hull Foundation For The Blind – Sandy, OR

Exciting summer youth camps for children with blindness and low vision.


Highbrook Lodge Camp – Chardon, OH

Sponsored by the Cleveland Sight Center; Highbrook Lodge is the first camp in the U.S. built specifically for people who are blind or visually impaired, opening way back in 1928. Independence and self-sufficiency are encouraged so campers can improve orientation and mobility skills, increasing their ability to live independently in the future. With programs for young people, families and adults; there’ are no limitations on age at Highbrook Lodge!


Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired Youth Services – Cincinnati, OH

Clovernook offers several summer camps, all with the goal of fostering independence, socialization and creativity for youth with visual impairments. Programs include a technology camp, summer work experiences, job placements for teens and a social skills camp for communication & team building.


Lions Camp Tatiyee – Mesa, AZ

Sponsored by the Lions Club, Lions Camp Tatiyee has been accredited by the American Camping Association (ACA) since 2000. This means they comply with and maintain the over 300 health and safety standards set forth. Their mission is to improve the emotional health of individuals with special needs, providing opportunities to interact with others having similar challenges with the goal of building their independence and self-confidence. Activities include recreational games, go-karting, swimming, fishing, archery, rock climbing wall, dance, cooking and art.


Camp Bloomfield – Malibu, CA

Located in the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains in Malibu, the 40-acre Camp Bloomfield offers an array of week-long camp sessions for children of all ages and disabilities. Sponsored by Junior Blind of America and accredited by the American Camping Association (ACA), this camp is FREE of charge! Activities include but aren’t limited to hiking, horseback riding, fishing, campfires, swimming, beach days, kayaking, track & field, music, martial arts and archery.


Camp Tuhsmeheta – Greenville, MI

Camp Tuhsmeheta (Touch-Smell-Hear-Taste) is a 300 acre outdoor education facility for students who are blind/visually impaired. Their site is offered to youth organizations and school groups as an outdoor learning environment. Educational groups pay a rate of $100/day for a group up to 75 people to use the property. The day rate includes meals. Camp Tuhsmeheta is owned and operated by the State of Michigan, Department of Education-Low Incidence Outreach. To learn more about the property and how to make a reservation, visit CampTuhsmeheta.org.


Camp Barnabas Soaring Hawks – Purdy, MO

The Soaring Hawks program at Camp Barnabas caters to blind and visually impaired individuals between the ages of 7-35. One of the things people love about this camp is the fact that there’s one counselor for every camper! Tons of fun outdoor adventures await you here, including swimming, fishing, canoeing, archery, rifles and field games.


So rise like the hot summer sun, grab an ice-cold lemonade and get out there to enjoy the next few months. Let’s all make the most out of summer 2013!

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This post was written by Jeff Frcho

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