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Retreat for vision-impaired set at Blue Lake

Dirk Price and his guide dog Henry are among those attending this year’s ‘Extreme Retreat’ for the vision-impaired at Blue Lake Methodist Camp. Stephanie Nelson/Star-News

Dirk Price is a testament to achieving under adversity. Now, he – and others like him – is participating in a unique retreat that allows the vision-impaired to share their experiences and enjoy camp life.

Price, who began losing his sight at age 5, told the Andalusia Lion’s Club Wednesday that the Sept. 25-28 “Extreme Retreat” at Blue Lake Methodist Camp is a great experience.

“This is an enlightening experience,” Price said of the camp. “It’s an opportunity for those who are vision-impaired to let loose, have a good time and be among those who are like themselves.”

The event, which is open to the vision-impaired and their support people, 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.

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

Cost for the event is $180 per person and includes meals and lodging. Scholarships for the visually-impaired are available, organizers said.

Price, an Andalusia resident, said he hasn’t allowed his vision impairment to get in the way of his life.

He graduated from Auburn University with a master’s degree in fisheries. He opened a fish business, and later an ornamental coy business, in 1981.

“I drove a car until 1980,” he said. “I drove a golf cart around the farm until I put it into the pond one too many times. Until five years ago, I was in business for myself, but my sight deteriorated quickly, so I gave the ponds up.

“I’m retired, so now I give back,” he said. “The Covington County Blind and Low Vision Outreach Group allows me to do that. People are too vain to admit they have a problem, and that’s the first step to admitting you’re not perfect. There is so much help out there. This retreat and the support group is a great way to learn about what’s available to you.”

For more information about the retreat, contact Phyllis Murray at 334-222-5407 or by email at director@bluelakecamp.com or Wanda Scroggins at 334-428-3335 or by email at wareaglewanda@gmail.com.