Blind students go to camp and tackle the high ropes course.
A dozen students are spending a week at camp at the Greenbush Education service center, tackling science and technology, self-defense techniques and the high ropes course.
This year’s theme is “Be Inspired” but if you met the students you would be too.
For Sean Sollenberger, it’s his first year at camp. The high ropes course can be challenging for anyone but even more so for kids like Sean who are blind or have limited vision. Sean says his left eye is blurry. He can only make out colors. His right just sees black and gray.
Sean said, “I always thought I would miss a rope and fall.
Even though they had a tight grip on the rope and harness, I still thought I’d fall ”
But he didn’t. He made it to the top to the applause and cheers of other campers and attendants.
Sean said, “I feel like a scientist that just discovered a new potion or something.”
Caitlyn Laster, who is completely blind, is from a small town in Arkansas. She’s back for a second year to try new challenges.
Caitlyn said of last years’ experience, “It got me out of that bubble and basically, I came away knowing I can do anything cause I zip lined.”
Besides the ropes course, students get lots of lessons in the latest technology. Tools that will help them at school at any level.
Blaze Perry demonstrated how the new Braille Sense u2 can connect with an I-pad.
Something Caitlyn says will help her at school. “I can do anything my sighted peers would do completely independently. I can do a lot of what a laptop can do and I can use an I-pad just like you would except for it talks to me and I can control it with that Braille Sense and read it in braille.”
Camp organizer, Calvin Churchwell with Midwest Low Vision Technology Center said, “They can download anything a teacher sends them either in braille or large print or however else without it having to be in hard copy. And it’s all done through technology. This levels the playing field for them back there.”
While technology helps, the camps theme is “Be Inspired,” and Churchwell believes that only comes on the ropes.
He said, “This opens up a whole new world for them to say I can do stuff and don’t tell me I can’t. So this allows them to go back and be strong individuals and speak up for themselves and advocate for themselves.”
And Caitlyn added, “Because, I’m like, if I can climb forty feet in the air and walk the catwalk, I can do anything I need to do cause it’s gonna be a lot easier.”
Churchwell says the technology can be expensive but students can apply for grants.
The Midwest Low Vision Technology Center is holding a fund raising bike ride. Get information on their website at the link below. Or click here.