Unique Sports Camp Caters Toward Vision Impaired Kids

Unique Sports Camp Caters Toward Vision Impaired Kids

Posted on Jul.21, 2009, by , under Educational, Inspirational Stories

With more than 20 million Americans experiencing significant vision loss, dealing with the disability can result in severe hardships in daily life. But if you take a look into the only sports camp in Alaska designed for blind and visually impaired kids, you’ll see some truly inspiring feats where although there is sight loss, the actual vision is still greater than ever.

When talking about confidence, Helen Keller said it best when she said, “Never bend your head. Hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.” And when you look at the kids of Camp Abilities that’s exactly what they are doing. With every day a challenge in being vision impaired, at Camp Abilities, kids get the chance to be just like everyone else. “There are sports camps all over for every kid so there is no reason, not to have sports camp for a child who’s blind or visually impaired,” said Jenna Sticken, who is a counselor at Camp Abilities.

The camp has adapted sports like track and field, biking, and beep baseball, which gives campers the chance to be physically active while creating an environment of self-esteem and confidence. “We did the running, the beep baseball, go ball and swimming, and I really like it,” said Mindy Baldwin, who is a Camp Abilities camper. “Its so much fun to be able to work with them and see their gains every year,” said Sticken. Making gains is exactly what camp veteran Kelsey Tallant is all about, who despite being diagnosed with glaucoma at an early age is a very determined young adult. “When I started school, like in the 1st grade when I started realizing stuff, and at first it was no big deal, and then I started realizing it and then got to be a big deal, then I realized, hey, I’m blind it doesn’t matter, I’m different its cool.”

Kelsey only has sight in one prosthetic eye, but you can’t tell based on her attitude towards life and everyone else. “I was once like their age, and I know how they feel and I’m a couple years older than them and if I have a positive attitude, then they’ll have a positive attitude and they’ll look at it like its no big deal,” said Kelsey.

From running, to even playing baseball, being visually impaired can be a day-to-day challenge. But if you use the kids of Camp Abilities as an example, there is nothing holding them back. “We keep a positive environment, everybody is upbeat, everybody succeeds in something, it doesn’t matter if you only bike one lap or if you only bike 14 laps you have made gains,” said Sticken. “It’s one of our major focuses and its so much fun, this is the most exciting camp to see what these kids can do,” said Kathy Trautman, of the Girdwood Lions Club.

You don’t have to look far to see the results, as these kids are proof, that impairments or no impairments, anything is possible. “Maybe try to make it to the Olympics, I don’t know,” said Kelsey. “You are gaining your own confidence, you can do it yourself, you don’t need somebody else to do it,” said Sticken. Funding for Camp Abilities is entirely from donations in which the Lions Club foundation plays a role. For more information about how you can help continue an important need in Alaska please go to our links page.

Source for complete article: http://www.ktva.com/ci_12861886