Verizon raising money for Extreme Experience

Published 1:05pm Thursday, August 22, 2013

What does a cell phone have to do with helping the blind?

A lot, if you consider that the local Verizon store has helped to sponsor 21 people and counting to attend the upcoming fourth annual Extreme Experience Retreat for the visually impaired.

Organized by Blue Lake Methodist Camp and the Covington County Low-Vision and Blind Outreach group, the event is open to the vision-impaired and their support people and will feature four days and three nights filled with activities such as motorcycle rides, fishing, canoeing, nature hiking and cookouts, as well as group counseling sessions and group discussions.

Verizon employees Johntravius Oliver, Julie Baker, Kendall Morris, Stephanie Dubose and Heather Countryman illustrate items that will be donated to those at the blind retreat.
Verizon employees Johntravius Oliver, Julie Baker, Kendall Morris, Stephanie Dubose and Heather Countryman illustrate items that will be donated to those at the blind retreat.

This year’s event will be held Sept. 29 through Oct. 2. Cost per person is $190.

“I have been so humbled by the generosity and what a few people can do in the Lord’s name,” said outreach group director Wanda Scroggins.

Scroggins is visually-impaired and when she described her project to those at the local cell provider, staff knew they had to do what they could to help, said Verizon employee Kendall Morris.

“Wanda is a customer, and we helped her learn how to use her iPhone,” Morris said. “Our district manager had a blind grandfather and this was a cause that hit home for him. We’re happy to help.”

In addition to the camp donations, the company is also donating a multitude of items such as T-shirts, phone cases and charges – as well as a new iPhone 5 as a “big door prize.”

“The great thing about the iPhone is that it can talk to you, which makes it a great tool for those with vision issues,” Morris said.

Donations will also be accepted at the local store for those wishing to help a camp attendee.

The first event was held in 2010 and brought attendees from Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi and Missouri.

“This retreat is getting national recognition due to the programs we offer with our great Southern hospitality,” Scroggins said. “I took two applications just the other day from people in Tallahassee. We’re going to have a great time, I just know it.”

The invitation is also open to those who are losing their sight due to age-related diseases such as macular degeneration, diabetes, glaucoma, cataracts, retinitis pigmentosa and other eye conditions.

The event will begin that Sunday with motorcycle rides and a Hawaiian luau.

“Most of us dream of riding a Harley and going to Hawaii for vacation, so this year we are bringing both experiences to the Extreme Experience Retreat,” Scroggins said. “Every day, we will offer different experiences. In addition, there is a need for sighted guides, so if you are interested in a virtual three-day experience of becoming someone’s eyes, you will be greatly blessed.”

For more information, to register or to donate, contact at Scroggins 334.428.3335 or Blue Lake Camp at 334.222.5407.

 

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