Camp great opportunity for blind

Published 1:27 am Saturday, September 3, 2011

Because I feel that there are people who are not aware of resources to help blind or visually impaired acquaintances, friends, and family members enhance their lives, I want to tell you about a wonderful opportunity for blind and visually impaired adults of all ages. It is the Second Annual Extreme Experience Camp which will be held at Blue Lake Camp, Andalusia, on Sept. 25-28. Participants will not only meet and get acquainted with others like themselves, but they will have an opportunity to learn about items to help them and also enjoy outdoor recreation and leisure activities. Last year, ages ranged from twenties all the way to a delightful 93-year-old lady whose friend drove her from Panama City, Fla.

The idea for this innovative and exciting camp sprouted from a collaboration between Phyllis Murray, executive director of Blue Lake Camp, and Wanda Scroggins, the president of the Covington County Blind and Low Vision Outreach group. It had long been Wanda’s dream to have a retreat such as this. Blue Lake was the ideal setting. Last year, it became a reality and was so well- received that the original two-day retreat stretched into a three-day event this year.

Campers won’t have to worry about pitching a tent at Blue Lake. Guests enjoy hotel-style accommodations with two beds and a bathroom in each room. Participants will begin arriving on Sun., Sept. 25, and depart after the noon meal on Wed., Sept. 28. A limited number of partial and full scholarships for the blind and visually impaired will be available. The fee of $180 per person includes three nights and nine delicious meals.

Plenty of outdoor recreation and leisure activities are on the agenda, including afternoon motorcycle rides for those who feel adventuresome. Swimming in the Olympic-sized pool or the lake, play on that big 16-foot waterslide on the lake, fishing, canoeing, rides on paddle boats, walks on roped nature hiking trails, golf, archery, and basketball are all on the agenda. Campers can bring their own instruments for pickin’ and grinning on Sunday night around the campfire.

A graduate field representative with Leader Dogs for the Blind will speak and hold a forum on guide dogs.

Representatives from the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation will demonstrate and inform participants about items on the market that can help them in their daily lives. These experts are an orientation mobility representative, independent living skills representative and a technology training representative.

My late husband, who gradually became legally blind from macular degeneration, wrote novels using computer software that magnified print and read what he wrote to him. He never could have accomplished this without the proper equipment. We were blessed that someone informed us of this technology. This camp is a great place to get informed about the many available helps and services.

Please tell any visually impaired people or their caregivers about this camp. I truly believe they will benefit from the experience. For information and applications, e-mail or call Phyllis Murray, 334-222-2634.