Guide Dog School Free Summer Camp Programs for Youth Announced
Submitted by Jane Flower, MSG, Youth Outreach Specialist, Guide Dogs for the Blind
Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) recognizes that the human-animal bond is unique; we want to give young adults with visual impairments the opportunity to experience its life-changing potential. With that in mind, now that it’s becoming safer to gather, we are excited to announce our two in-person Guide Dog camp programs, for youth ages 14 to 17 and 18 to 24, being held this summer at the Hull Foundation and Learning Center in Sandy, Oregon. At Camp GDB, which is open to young adults throughout the United States and Canada, campers explore the companionship, independence, and responsibility of having a guide dog. They will receive hands-on instruction with an emphasis on understanding the specific orientation and mobility skills required to be a successful guide dog handler, as well as the fitness and endurance needed for guide dog travel. We have a lot of fun too, with campfires, swimming, a hike or two, and a few other surprises. We will stay in the Lodge, everyone will have their own room, and all meals are provided. Each free Camp GDB session is open to campers who are: considering a guide dog for mobility; physically capable of participating in all activities; emotionally ready for a residential summer program; proficient enough in Orientation and Mobility skills for independent travel around the camp; self-sufficient in daily living skills; and fully vaccinated. The application packet can be found by visiting our website Camp GDB page. For more information, please contact Jane Flower at [email protected].
Summer Camp Opportunities for Children and Adults
by Jaime Rodriguez, RDPFS Intern
Spring is here, and before you know it, it will be summer. For many people, summer is the time to seek out new and exciting experiences. Summer camps are one option, in particular those designed specifically for people with physical disabilities. Here are two camping opportunities for summer 2022:
Camp Abilities educational sports camps are for children and teens, and sometimes adults, who are blind, visually impaired, or deafblind. They focus largely on sports and recreation activities, with several locations that provide a one-to-one instructor for each participant. Camp Abilities programs offer a variety of activities for campers, such as canoeing and kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, gymnastics, rollerblading, tandem biking, beep baseball, goalball, high ropes courses, swimming, track and field, showdown, and horseback riding. Each of the more than 20 Camp Abilities locations in the United States runs on a different schedule with different eligibility criteria and pricing. However, most offer programs between May and August. Spots are limited in many locations, so apply or register as soon as possible. In the United States camps are in Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Puerto Rico. International locations are in Bangladesh, Canada, Costa Rica, Ghana, Ireland, Portugal, South Africa, and Switzerland. For a complete list of Camp Abilities locations and programs, please visit the “Other Camps” page of the Camp Abilities of Pennsylvania website, here.
Another summer camp opportunity comes from Easterseals, the largest provider of recreation and camping services for children and adults with disabilities in the United States. Easterseals provides extracurricular, educational, and personal development activities for participants to discover and explore their interests, values, and talents. Their summer camps offer a variety of activities for campers, such as archery, arts and crafts, swimming, water sports, dancing, and outdoor sports. Each of their more than 20 camps runs on a different schedule with different eligibility criteria and pricing. Most offer programs between May and August. Spots are limited, so apply or register as soon as possible. Easterseals summer camps operate in Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. For more information, check out the Easterseals webpage, “Camping and Recreation for People with Disabilities”, here. For a complete list of their summer camp locations and programs, please visit their “Camp and Recreation Directory” on the Easterseals website, here.
To find out about more camp opportunities, please check out the FriendshipCircle.Org resource profile, “25 Summer Camps For Individuals With Special Needs”.