Camp Abilities, Brockport, NY: Part 1 of a Series of Posts

Joe Strechay Hello, friends. I think it has been a while since I wrote for FamilyConnect. But, I had to take this opportunity to provide you with a few updates from my few days at the 2013 Camp Abilities held at SUNY Brockport.

If you don’t know about Camp Abilities, it was created and run by Lauren Lieberman. cover of Physical Education and Sports for People with Visual Impairments and DeafblindnessLauren Lieberman has been recognized by the American Foundation for the Blind with an Access Award for her amazing work. Dr. Lieberman is the strongest voice in the field about getting children who are blind or visually impaired involved in sports and fitness, including co-authoring Physical Education and Sports for People with Visual Impairments and Deafblindness: Foundations of Instruction. She has helped start these types of camps in 16 different locations in the United States and abroad. That is right; she has taken the message international!

What Is the Impact of Camp Abilities?

I don’t throw my backing to organizations so easily, but Camp Abilities really has a four-prong impact.

Impact 1: Camp Abilities provides youth who are blind or visually impaired with experiences in sports, fitness, Paralympic sports, and the ability to fully participate. Children who are blind or visually impaired don’t often get the opportunity to fully participate in athletics in the schools or many places at all. The program introduces the participants to all kinds of new experiences.

Impact 2: Camp Abilities challenges the youth participants to take the activities home to their local schools and physical education instructors, and asks to make things happen. Dr. Lieberman offers support and resources.

Impact 3: Camp Abilities provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in physical education, related fields, and visual disabilities such as teachers of the visually impaired and orientation & mobility. She provides them opportunities to learn how to teach a variety of sports and activities.

Impact 4: Camp Abilities offers to help start new programs, provide staff, and train individuals to help continue the program in the future. Hence why there are so many locations, and the programs continue to pop up in new areas.

I was provided the opportunity to speak to the 55 campers about employment strategies for job seekers who are blind or visually impaired. I jumped on the opportunity and Dr. Lieberman asked me to also spend time with the group during events. I am only at the camp for a few days of the week’s long, action-packed events. I am going to provide you with some information about some of the things I observed firsthand at the camp.

Visiting Camp Abilities Brockport is like visiting the first location of a large chain of family-run restaurants, except the original is one of the largest and super impressive. This is not always the case, but Camp Abilities Brockport is the real deal. I can’t tell you how impressed I have been with the amount detail, assessment, and evaluation that the program includes. They can back up their program with statistics. The participants improve in all of the activities with effort and practice.