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Duncan McGregor
Jean Huehn
Janet McAdam

York Region District School Board
Vision Services Department
300 Harry Walker Parkway
Newmarket, Ontario
L3H 8E2
(905) 727-0022, ext. 3324

Presented at the AER International Conference, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Saturday, July 20, 2002.

Rationale and Benefits to Students:

Students with visual impairments have many educational needs that are not addressed by the core (academic) curriculum taught to all students. The Extended Core Curriculum for students who are visually impaired addresses these needs. However, some aspects of the Extended Core Curriculum are often best taught outside of the school environment.

At camp, we give students the opportunity to develop:

  • Daily living skills
  • Social skills
  • Orientation and mobility skills
  • Physical fitness
  • Independence and responsibility

This is done by:

  • providing students with an opportunity to interact with other students who are visually impaired
  • developing appropriate social skills in a variety of settings
  • assigning positions of responsibility in the areas of daily living and personal hygiene
  • providing a wide range of outdoor experiences, that engage the senses and allow students to expand their repertoires of recreation and leisure activities.
  • promoting physical fitness

Camp Activities:

Daily Living Skills

  • food preparation
  • table setting
  • clean up
  • washing, drying and putting away dishes
  • unpacking personal items when arriving at camp, and packing them to return home.
  • organizing and caring for personal items
  • personal hygiene

Social Skills

  • group interaction
  • peer tutoring, modelling of appropriate behavoiur
  • leadership training

Orientation and Mobility

  • hiking
  • orienteering
  • scavenger hunts

Physical Fitness

  • hiking
  • running
  • snowshoeing
  • cross-country skiing
  • horseback riding
  • canoeing, rowing, paddleboats
  • ball games and activities: soccer, softball, t-ball, soccer baseball, “catch”
  • relays
  • tug-of-war

Independence and Responsibility

  • chores
  • organizing and caring for personal items
  • giving students the opportunity to organize activities themselves

Things to Keep in Mind When Organizing a Camp

  • Book facility well in advance of the dates you want.
  • Information package for parents should include:
    • address and phone number of camp, and map showing how to get there
    • list of things to bring (and to leave at home)
    • medical information form—include food allergies/religious dietary restrictions
    • permission forms, as required by school board
    • field trip insurance forms, as required by school board
  • Plan kid-friendly meals—things kids like to eat, and can either help themselves to (e.g. sandwich bar) or prepare themselves.
  • Be sure to have suitable alternatives for students with food allergies or dietary restrictions.
  • Think out safety plans in advance.
    • emergency contact numbers for students
    • phone numbers and locations of nearby medical facilities.
    • orientation to camp upon arrival should include fire drill, emergency exits, and where to gather outside in the event of an emergency.

Sample Student Checklist
(3 days, 2 nights—fall camp)

  • Sleeping bag and pillow
  • 4 shirts and turtleneck
  • 3 pairs of pants
  • socks
  • 3 pairs of underwear
  • 2 sweatshirts or sweaters
  • warm jacket suitable for rain
  • change of outdoor footwear, including boots
  • indoor shoes (sneakers)
  • hat for cool weather
  • mitts or gloves
  • towel and face cloth
  • zipper bag containing soap, comb/brush, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste
  • a book to read
  • board games/cards (optional)
  • minimal spending money for snacks and small souvenirs

Important:

  • Please put your name on all belongings.
  • All gear should be packed in one soft-sided duffle bag due to space restrictions.
  • * We request that Walkmans and electronic games remain at home.