CNIB’s Summer Day Camp: Five Days Where Kids Can Be Kids

For five days this summer, blind or partially sighted youth aged 8-12 years old took part in CNIB’s Summer Day Camp in Halifax. The camp provides an opportunity for campers to enjoy recreation activities with their peers, while both enhancing and building key rehabilitation skills for everyday living.

“My favourite part of the camp was all of it, but especially meeting new people, experiencing judo and doing crafts!” says first-time camper, Leland.

Few things are as important as learning to stand up for yourself, particularly when vision loss is concerned. This includes accessibility in sports and activities, and many sports have versions specifically designed for vision loss that offer just as much challenge and excitement. This year, the four participants learned how to play goalball, which is an internationally competitive sport that is played without sight. Players wear eyeshades, group in teams of three and attempt to throw a ball with bells inside past defenders into the other team’s goal. They also tried glow Mini-Golf, in which the contrast of a glowing ball in the dark makes the game much easier to play with low vision.

The opportunity to travel and experience a new place is great fun – and during this summer’s camp, the campers visited many interesting places. They visited a local playground and had a picnic; they ventured to the grocery store to learn to navigate and purchase ingredients to make a lunch for the staff at the Halifax office.

Throughout all their activities the campers would take part in planning and navigating to and from activities throughout the city. This involved planning bus routes, using landmarks, identifying sounds and direction of traffic, crossing the street and maintaining a straight line of travel.

“CNIB’s Summer Day Camp is an awesome summer camp for children that are visually impaired,” says Leland’s mom, Jen. “They get to interact with children like themselves and learn that they can do the same activities as someone without visual impairment.”

During the Summer Day Camp, children had the opportunity to hear from guest speakers about a range of topics. CNIB Halifax’s board room became learning central as the campers got to hear from experts who know how to make their subject fun for children. The Discovery Centre made science fun through their interactive presentation, and the campers got hands-on by making tie-dyed t-shirts and crafts. They even got to practice new Judo skills on their instructor, Jason, during an afternoon of learning self-defense moves.

The group spent their last day at Hatfield Farm where they got to pet the farm animals, ride ponies and go on a wagon ride around the property. Then it was off to a trampoline park where the campers had so much fun jumping and flipping and just being kids. The end of the eventful week left every child exhausted and anxious to come back again next year.

When asked what their least favourite part of CNIB’s Summer Day Camp was, every participant had the same answer – “nothing.”