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RECREATION OPPORTUNITIES

This is only a short and incomplete list of contacts for recreation, and not all listings here specialize in activities for persons with vision impairments. In the field of specialized recreation for the disabled, organizations and agents change frequently. This is primarily because of changes within the organizations, due to inconsistent funding, or changes in an organization's rented or borrowed venues or facilities.

Many mainstream recreational outlets are becoming more interested in recruiting persons with disabilities to their programs and facilities, which increases recreational opportunities for everyone who is disabled. In many areas, there are now mainstream recreational facilities that also cater to recreational enthusiasts with disabilities: both snow and water skiing businesses, sailing marinas and clubs, horse stables and riding programs, and many camping, fishing, and hiking outlets are now accessible.

An initial list of recreational camps for the blind and visually impaired appears below, followed by several general recreation and travel listings.


Camps for the Blind and Visually Impaired

The Camps listed below are located only In Oregon, Washington, and California, and those listed below are specifically for blind and visually impaired participants. There are surprisingly few non-religious camps for the vision impaired across the nation, and many of these are along the Eastern Seaboard, far from Oregon. There are many camps of varying types that are affiliated with local or regional churches however, and requesting a referral or list from the church of your choice is not a bad idea either.

For each camp listed below, it is advisable to make contact to check the details on their exact location, the camp environment (forest, rural or suburban countryside, etc.), their eligibility requirements, the available recreational and additional activities, how they might be staffed, and the fees per time attended. Each camp will probably be different in the things you will need to attend, and likewise the fees requested for camp participation will differ.

Some of the older, more well-established camps are slightly custodial and not particularly mainstream in the activities they offer; some also occasionally vary the types of activities they offer to appeal to a greater number of participants. It is best to check with the camp itself to inquire as to their activities and outlook, and maybe even talk to anyone you may know who has attended your camp of interest. And remember; always investigate way in advance of scheduling your trip to camp!

 

Camp Bloomfield

Junior Blind of America
Los Angeles, California
(800) 352-2290
www.juniorblind.org/site/

Though Junior Blind of America, based in Los Angeles, owns and runs Camp Bloomfield, the camp itself is located near the beach in Malibu California. Camp Bloomfield serves vision impaired children, adults and their families. There are many child and adult sessions during the warm months and three family sessions during summer. They also offer "buddy camps" where youngsters can bring a young friend or family member to the camp for shared activities. Camp Bloomfield offers swimming, horseback riding, rope climbing, archery, arts and crafts and many other outdoor and beachfront activities. There is a $25 initial registration fee per camp. Contact the Foundation and ask about the camp's eligibility, schedules and activities.


Camp Harobed

P O Box 2178
Belfair, WA 98528
(360) 372-2735

Camp Harobed was only founded in October of 2000 and was established as a memorial to Deborah Bloom Pigott, who was a blind recreational enthusiast. She and her husband Jack always wanted to turn their rural and beautiful 15 acres near the Puget Sound in the mountains of the Olympic Range into a recreational camp for blind adults. Upon Debbie's sudden death in August of 2000, Jack and her friends started putting the property in order to be just that, a rural camp for blind adults and their families.

The property has a small lake, plenty of space for hiking, tent and trailer camping, nature activities, and work has begun for a games field for beep baseball and other sports that are accessible to blind and vision impaired campers. Plans for horse riding and a more developed nature trail are in the works, and fees for the camping sessions are still low. Sessions are scheduled for the summer months, and additional reserved camping or group use of the camp areas may be scheduled by calling Jack at the number above or by contacting Rob Cook at (541) 741-4367.

 

Enchanted Hills

Lighthouse for the Blind
San Francisco, California
(415) 431-1481
www.lighthouse-sf.org

Enchanted Hills is located deep in the beautiful Napa Valley wine country and is one of the nation's oldest specialized camps for the blind. The camp is now a permanent trust of the Rose Resnick Center (a foundation of the Lighthouse) and is so well appointed that you may not consider it a camp, but rather a rural resort. Enchanted Hills has cabins for their guests, nature walks, large gathering rooms and a variety of activities devoted to persons who are blind and visually impaired. They have child and adult sessions and are usually open from June to September. Contact Director Tony Fletcher for details.

 

Oral Hull Foundation Camp

P O Box 157
Sandy, OR 97055
(503) 668-6195

The Oral Hull Camp is located in Sandy, Oregon, just east of
Portland. The 23-acre camp is beautifully nestled at the foot of Mount Hood and is completely enveloped deep within a virgin fir forest. The camp has two small lakes for trout fishing, an "enchanted" botanical garden, and many camping and trailer sites, with several magnificently developed facilities. The main hall and its attached areas include a dormitory for members or visitors, a pool with spa, and a dining commons area that is exquisite in its accommodations.

The foundation was started in 1962 and is now a virtual resort for the blind and visually impaired. Visitors or members will find a fully developed place to take a trip to, do tent or trailer camping, or to call and get in on their scheduled events. Membership allows reduced rates and greater access to the camp, but anyone involved in vision impairment can come and enjoy the facilities and activities year round, though most scheduled events are during the warmer months. If you want a near resort atmosphere, give the Oral Hull Foundation a call and ask for membership and schedule information.

 

Access To Recreation

8 Sandra Court
Newbury Park, CA 91320
(800) 634-4351
www.accesstr.com

Access To Recreation has recreational aids for persons with mobility impairments, and they also have a variety of aids for daily living (adaptive goods.). Some of their products may be useful to blind or visually impaired persons who are also mobility impaired. Contact them for details or a catalog.

 

Adventure Without Limits

1341 Pacific Avenue
Forest Grove, OR 97116
Information & programs: (503) 359-2568
Registration: (503) 681-9471
www.awloutdoors.com

AWL is an outdoor recreational nonprofit program that is open to everyone, though their emphasis is in access to recreation for youth with disabilities. The outings are designed to access all persons to recreational environments and nearly all of AWL's activities are held outdoors and are generally rural in nature.

Most AWL activities are day trips, though occasionally overnight trips are arranged. Outings are generally held near the Oregon-Washington border, in recreational areas like the Oregon coast, Mount Hood or the Columbia River Gorge.
AWL has another recreational component which is specifically for people with disabilities called the Social Recreational Companion Program. This program provides disabled participants with their own companion to allow greater independence during outings. Call or check the AWL website for more information or current outings.

 

National Beep Baseball Association (NBBA)

2231 West First Avenue
Topeka, KS 66606-1304
(785) 234-2156
www.nbba.org

The NBBA is a national organization which promotes, encourages and develops amateur beep baseball programs throughout the nation and internationally. This nonprofit organization is devoted to the accessible game of beep baseball, and their website offers a listing of games to be played, players and teams, recent game scores, some of the highlights expected for the upcoming season and other informational tidbits about the game and players. Check it out for some education about what blind and visually impaired athletes are up to!

 

Oregon Disability Sports

Salem, Oregon
(800) 869-8180
www.oregondisabilitysports.net/

Oregon Disability Sports (ODS) offers information about disability accessible sports programs and venues within Oregon. It refers interested parties to accessible sports activities, and they also have a few programs that they administer themselves. ODs is presently starting a few new sports programs such as accessible snow skiing, so it might be good to give them a call or check their website for current information. For more detailed information, call Eric Patterson at (503) 378-3820, ext. 239.

 

Ski for Light, Inc.

1455 West Lake Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55408
(612) 827-3232
www.sfl.org/

Ski For Light is a program involving cross-country skiing which benefits blind, visually impaired, and mobility-impaired individuals and their guides. They have many scheduled outings across the country each year and usually have an annual gathering somewhere beautiful and special to those who love to ski. Ski For Light outings usually have both cross country and downhill skiing, as well as learning opportunities for new and novice skiers, along with sessions at each gathering for those who are more experienced. Contact them for details!

 

United States Association of Blind Athletes USABA)

33 N. Institute Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
(719) 630-0422
www.usaba.org

The USABA Is a nonprofit organization that offers information and sports opportunities to blind and vision impaired athletes. USABA provides opportunities for competition and training in track and field, wrestling, tandem cycling, judo, power lifting, swimming, goalball, and skiing. They are also the U.S. representative to the International blind Sports Association and are the Governing Body for goalball (see below).

If you check by website or phone, they have a national sports calendar, a listing of recreational and sports camps, and also information about their two academic scholarships for USABA members. Contact them for membership and sports opportunities, information, or scholarship opportunities.

(Goalball is a very popular sport among vision impaired sportspersons. It is basically an adapted form of floor hockey, though a heavy ball with sound-making capacity is substituted for a puck. Players have two end goals and must defend their goal against the other team's attempts to score, much like hockey. The game is full of exertion and is often quite rough on the body due to the floor contact, requiring players to suit up in protective gear. ALL PLAYERS wear sleep shades or some form of vision eliminator, thus making this game totally equal to all players. There are several regular goalball teams in Oregon and there is stiff competition on the west coast from other regional teams. For more information on goalball, contact USABA, or call or e-mail Oregon Disability Sports at (800) 869-8180, or visit their website.


Travel Opportunities

Since mainstream agencies are now seeing the financial impact of including persons with disabilities in their activities and tours, there seems to be far fewer numbers of agents and tours specifically for the disabled. With a will to travel and be catered to, it is possible to find specialized travel opportunities for vision impaired travelers; search the web, or contact a travel agent you know and try to make some plans. The ACB web page has a current listing of recreational and travel opportunities for persons who are vision impaired. There are also resources out there (such as the two final entries below) that have listings of accessible activities and facilities.

Remember however that in our country today, persons with disabilities are becoming more involved and integrated into mainstream activities. Put simply, rather than be inhibited, try including yourself in any travel opportunity that comes your way. Inclusion is a right in our country and before you go to another locale or somewhere less inclusive, take full advantage of the opportunities available through America's wonderfully increasing accessibility.

 

CruiseAway With Sue

(314) 726-6893
E-mail: cruiseaway2001@yahoo.com

Sue Slater is an independent agent who openly states that her "mission in life is to make cruising accessible for the visually impaired." Because Sue is vision impaired from RP and loves to go on cruises herself, she has loads of experience in setting up exceptional vacation cruises for persons who are blind or visually impaired and want to bring along friends, family or their dog guides. Sue usually organizes several exceptional cruises annually, and contacting her in advance for details is a must.

 

Wilderness Inquiry

808 14th Avenue NE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 676-0400 Fax: (612) 676-0401
(800) 728-0719
www.wildernessinquiry.org

Wilderness Inquiry (WI) is for travelers, campers, hikers and recreational enthusiasts of all ages and abilities. WI trips are meant to be all-inclusive, and participants of all abilities bring a sense of integration to the tours. WI trips include camping, hiking, backpacking, water sports, and a variety of other outdoor activities. They go all over the country and abroad.

WI also does accessibility assessments on parks, recreational areas and facilities that may be public or private in nature. The findings are placed on their "accessoutdoors" website. This website also has outdoor products reviewed and for sale. So check out both sites and get involved in their activities.

 

 

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