Camp Abilities Levels the Playing Field

Summer camps are in full swing and we stopped by one Monday that has a different take on things.

Danielle Nelson was instructing Emily Medina in the finer points of archery when we paid them a visit.

Danielle said, “I just met Emily yesterday and she just kind of told me what she liked and she was here last year and I know that she really likes archery. So I know she had that going for her but when I saw her lining up I saw some little things I could fix."

It's typical summer camp stuff at Camp Abilities but there is one thing different. All 20 one of the campers are either blind or visually impaired.

Camp Abilities’ Kristal Platt said, “Kids don't always have a chance to do these things in gym like other kids because sometimes the physical education instructors aren't sure how to adapt the sports activities so that the children can participate fully."

Inside the gym there's a game of Goalball. This sport was planned with visually impaired players in mind. The lines on the court are raised, the ball has a bell in it and all the players wear blindfolds. It's a level playing field a lot of these kids don't experience back home.

Stacey Gibbins said, “That's what Camp Abilities is all about is getting everyone involved so that everyone's included in sports."

Goalball and archery are just the start. Before camp is done the kids will have done all sorts of things from swimming to golf to rock climbing.

It's the first day and Emily has already met one of her goals for the year.

She said, “I think I did really good because I got a bulls eye and that's pretty good. And thanks to my counselor who helped me, yeah."

Most of the time these young people are in situations and settings where they are the only blind or visually impaired person but at Camp Abilities they're just one of the campers. That alone makes for a rich experience.


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