Camp Abilities is a sports camp for youth who are blind, visually impaired and deaf-blind. This July, Boys Town National Research Hospital, Outlook Nebraska Inc. and community supporters will bring this nationally recognized camp to Nebraska and Iowa children.
Kristal Platt, Boys Town National Research Hospital’s Vision Program Coordinator, flew to Brockport, New York, in June of 2011 to witness firsthand what it takes to launch a successful Camp Abilities program. "It will take a great deal of coordination and funding to bring Camp Abilities to Nebraska," says Kristal, "but we are up for the challenge."
Lauren Lieberman, Ph.D., a professor at State University of New York started the camp 17 years ago. Now hosting 50 to 55 children annually, the camp has grown to a full week of awesome health-promoting activities. Youth rotate through judo, gymnastics, beep baseball, goal ball, biking, swimming, and track and field, throughout the day. Evenings are filled with campers' choices including basketball, fishing, canoeing and special offerings. Campers return year after year. Youth are proud to tell their accomplishments in a daily "Care to Share" session at suppertime.
- "I went rollerblading for the first time," one camper shouts to the group.
- "I swam ten laps," says another.
- "I rode a bicycle all by myself," is heard from the back.
Sometimes the children have never had an opportunity to try these activities and other times their school or community lacked the knowledge to teach the children. Their counselors, called coaches, monitor their progress throughout the time at the camp. Parents receive a record of their child’s accomplishments for their personal files and a copy to provide to the school system to add to the Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Camp Abilities for Nebraska and Iowa residents is scheduled for July 21-26, 2013. The Nebraska camp is co-sponsored by Boys Town National Research Hospital and Outlook Nebraska Inc. (Oni) and supported by Nebraska Foundation for Visually Impaired Children, The eBay Foundation, Omaha Association of the Blind and WhyArts?
If you would like to register your child, volunteer at the camp, or would like more information, please contact Kristal Platt at 402-498-6365. Find more information on Camp Abilities Nebraska or visit www.campabilities.org to find a location near you.