And speaking of summer camps, who would have thought offering a couple of summer camps would have such a profound impact on blind and low vision youth? They are! The campers tell us they form deep connections with each other because they spend quality time with people who know exactly what they are going through since they all have some degree of vision loss. These relationships contribute to the kids’ growth while at camp. You can watch them change between day one and day three. The kids are more confident, outgoing, strong, and independent when they leave. And that’s because of each other and themselves not us. As one mom shared with us after her son participated in the June camp, “Your program changes lives!”
Personally, I get a chance to know the kids better too and I love it! During ski season my interaction with the kids is minimal. I greet them when they arrive, chat a little during their lunch break and then again at the end of the day when I conduct their “experience” interview. I’m lucky if I get 5-10 minutes with each child per two-day ski trip. In the summer I’m spending three straight days with all the kids. I observe how they act, how they interact with each other, how they push and encourage each other. And I’m watching them grow up, just like my own children.
These kids, this program, it touches people’s lives. Whether they are eight or 80, every Visually Impaired Participant (VIP) that participates in Foresight’s program has some sort of positive and personal transformative experience. All the volunteers and I get to sit back and watch the magic happen. Pull up a chair and enjoy the show. It’s pretty fantastic.