By Beth Dennis, Blind Children’s Consultant, Division for Blind Services
Abstract: This article provides information about summer camps.
Key Words: blind, vision impairment, recreation, summer camp
You might think it’s still winter, the holidays were just yesterday, but it’s time already to think about summer activities and summer camp. Many summer camps have already mailed informational brochures and applications, and application deadlines may be as early as mid-April. The most popular summer camps fill up early, and some camps operate on a first come first served basis.
Residential summer camps provide students excellent opportunities to learn new skills and practice old ones. In addition to just plain, old-fashioned fun, students develop confidence, independence and social skills. Some camps offer shorter camp sessions or day-camp programs for younger campers who are not yet ready to be away from home for an entire week.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Be aware of camp deadlines. By Spring Break, make sure you have made a final camp selection.
- Call early (January or February) to request a camp application form. Some forms take longer to complete and may require a medical release signed by your child’s doctor.
- Talk to other parents, teachers of the visually impaired, DARS-DBS children’s caseworkers, or transition counselors about the camp you are considering for your child. Visit the camp’s website or, if possible, consider a visit to the camp in the off-season.
In January and February, the Division for Blind Services obtains updated information from camps in Texas that have served campers with visual and other impairments. Please contact your DBS Specialist or your local DBS office for camp information: <http://www.dars.state.tx.us/dbs/DBSoffices.asp>. DBS does not maintain a list of all the camps in Texas, and the inclusion or exclusion of a camp should not be considered an endorsement of any particular camp. When selecting a camp, parents should visit the facility, meet the camp director or counselors, and talk to parents whose children have attended the camp in past years. Each camp has its own special attributes and no single camp is the “best” for every child. Trying to match the needs of your child with a camp that will meet those needs should be a leading consideration. Careful research will ultimately result in an informed decision to find the camp that is the “best” for your child.