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1-31-12 Winter 2012 Camp for the Blind in Michigan is challenged by warm winter
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Many winter and summer options for blind campers
 
   
  Campers Marybai, Shane, and Seri enjoying a ride at Camp Mivoden, Id.
Photo by Ed Horan, 2011
 
January 30, 2012 Lincoln, Nebraska … [Rajmund Dabrowski/CRN] When 43 blind campers arrive at their Winter Camp for the Blind on February 5, they will experience an abundance of wintery thrills and spills. That’s the plan, if there is snow.
 
            “We plan for plenty of activities in the snow,” says Peggy Hansen, who coordinates National Camps for Blind Children®(USA), a service of Lincoln, Nebraska-based Christian Record Services for the Blind.
 
            “If the forecast is correct, the activities could include snowmobiling, downhill skiing and horse-drawn sleigh-riding. And since the camp has a lake, there may be some ice skating fun, too. But we need real freezing weather,” Hansen explains.
 
            From the 43 blind campers who are listed to come to Winter Camp-Au Sable in Grayling, Michigan, February 5-10, twenty-five will come from Canada, according to camp’s organizer, Pat Page from the National Camps for the Blind® (Canada). The Michigan venue is a convenient spot for campers from across the U.S. northern border, and is a part of a cooperative effort between the Christian Record International office and its Canadian affiliate from Oshawa, Ontario.
 
            Just imagine a blind camper from Florida experiencing snow for the first time. But outdoor activities are only a portion on camp menu. There are indoor group activities, craft making and theme days. “If snow does not surprise us this warm winter, there will be go-carting or horseback riding,” Hansen adds.
           
            The Michigan venue is Christian Record’s only winter camp for the blind for this year. Hansen explained, “our camp planning is conditioned on availability of funding. The economic downturn has affected how many such events are viable for our organization.” The campers cover their own travel expenses and a $35 sign-up fee, but all else is covered by donations. “We are grateful to our donors for allowing us to organize eight summer camps in the United States this year,” she adds.
 
            Smiling, Hansen adds, “those who planned to go to Colorado this winter will have an opportunity to come to our Glacier View Summer Camp in Ward, Colorado, in July.”
 
            The 2012 summer camp schedule will begin early in June but most camps are planned for July and August. The list of the summer camps for the blind includes eight events in the United States of America, and four in Canada which are planned by the Canadian affiliate. [More details at www.blindcamps.org]. Negotiations are continuing to also reactivate Camp Wakonda at Oxford, Wisconsin, July 1-8.
 
Indian Creek Camp at Liberty, Tennessee, June 10-17;
Mountain View Camp at Hope, British Columbia, Canada, July 1-6;
Pugwash Camp at Pugwash, Nova Scotia, Canada, July 1-6;
Camp Frenda at Port Carling, Ontario, Canada, July 2-8;
Glacier View Camp at Ward, Colorado, July 2-8;
Yorktown Bay at Mountain Pine, Arkansas, July 8-15;
Foothills Camp at Olds, Alberta, Canada, July 22-29;
Leoni Meadows Camp at Grizzly Flats, California, July 29-August 5;
Timber Ridge at Spencer, Indiana, July 29-August 5;
Blind Bikers Camp at Cedar Lake, Michigan, August 7-12;
Lake Aurora Camp at Lake Wales, Florida, August 12-17;
Mivoden Camp at Hayden Lake, Idaho, August 19-26;
 
            It’s been 45 years since the first camp for the blind was organized at Camp Kalaqua, High Springs, Florida, in the summer of 1967. Winter camps were started in 1980 at Winter Park, Colorado. Ray Hubbart, an employee of Christian Record Services, became acquainted with Norman Middag, who specialized in directing camps for the youth in Florida. The rest is history. Initially, Hubbart’s novel idea required persuasion with the Christian Record board. Selling the idea to parents of blind children created additional challenges.
 
            The first camp had 23 youngsters and to date more than 50,000 campers have attended National Camps for Blind Children.
 
            Today, the local camp organizers praise the initiative as they themselves enjoy camp activities. Campers later say that attending a camp is a highlight of the year. They want to return and enjoy the adventure again. At the camp, counselors teach practical skills, and provide an environment that encourages independence. Many of the adult campers are returning to relive their experience from when they were children.
 
            Being at the camp finally gives a blind child a chance to be a kid, Peggy Hansen comments. “All too often they live excluded and sheltered from the social mainstream. Some are depressed, and not allowed to participate in activities. At the camp they play together and strive for new experiences. You play sports that you only wished you could, and you connect with nature,” Hansen explains.
 
            Christian Record’s aim is that the camps will offer hope, create a wholesome atmosphere, always emphasizing high moral values. “At our camps we offer an opportunity to meet Jesus,” Hansen adds.

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Rajmund Dabrowski, Assistant to the President for Marketing
Christian Record Services for the Blind
North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600 USA
Telephone: 301-680-6400
Fax: 301-680-6464
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