Foresight Ski Guides launched its first ever summer program for blind and visually impaired youth this summer. After years of discussion and planning we were finally able to get this camp off the ground and what fun it was! Camps were held in June and July and attracted blind and visually impaired youth from all along the Front Range.
Campers started off the two-day program at Nottingham Park in Avon with goal setting and a life skills discussion. Campers exchanged ideas on overcoming adversity in their day-to day lives and each participant identified their goals for the overall camp as well as each activity. Goals ranged from not getting hurt and improving their ability at certain activities to simply having a great time.
Each camper was paired with a Foresight guide for the duration of the camp. The guide was there to ensure the safety of the camper and themselves. First up, stand-up paddle boarding. Each camper and guide hopped on a paddle board then took off to glide around Nottingham Lake. Some were experienced, others were not. Some managed to stand up on their board, others ended up in the water… and for a few it was by choice! We wrapped up the SUP experience with a couple of relay races. The competition was fierce but there were plenty of laughs and cheers along with some splashes into the lake.
Next the group headed out for a two-mile hike along the Eagle Vail Trail. Guides from Walking Mountains Science Center led the way pointing out the flora and fauna that thrive in the Eagle County forests. The group gathered under some trees next to a stream where they learned the importance of protecting the forests and the environment. Each camper and guide also wandered off by themselves for a few minutes of self-reflection.
Foresight board member, David Nicknair, was gracious enough to host the group for a BBQ dinner during the June camp. The kids, parent chaperones and Foresight guides all enjoyed a delicious dinner during a perfect summer evening. In July the group gathered at Nottingham Park for a pizza party and the kids played until long after the sun set.
Day two was jam packed with activities that all took place at Camp Hale, the area where the Army’s 10th Mountain Division trained for mountain warfare during World War 2. At Camp Hale, campers participated in rock climbing, archery, and fly fishing. Watching these kids conquer their fear of climbing up a rock face was inspirational. Determination and perseverance helped each one scamper right up to the top and for many they did it over and over again.
After rock climbing the group traveled across the valley to Nova Guides for archery and fly fishing. Many of the kids had some previous experience with archery. It’s an activity that’s offered at Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind. You’d be amazed at how well these kids did. Those that struggled got some advice and mentoring from the more experienced archers. Everyone managed to hit the target and a couple of campers even got a bull’s eye!
Day two wrapped up with fly fishing. Each camper received some instruction and practice time during a casting clinic then it was time to test their skills. Patience reigned supreme as each camper tried and tried again to snag that allusive fish. Thanks to a little help from the anglers at Nova Guides, each camper can share their story of fishing success and they have the photos to prove it.
Thank you to Stand Up Paddle Colorado for their instruction and enthusiasm; to Eagle Climbing and Fitness for their instruction, patience, and encouragement. And thank you to Walking Mountains Science Center and Nova Guides for their support and partnership at Foresight’s Summer Camp for Blind Youth.