In its fifteenth year of operation, National Camps for Blind Children (NCBC) and National Camps for the Blind (NCB) hosted 35 blind campers during the first week of February 2013, at Camp Au Sable, near Grayling, Michigan, in the United States. For several campers, who came from Canada and the United States, the "unforgettable winter wonderland adventure" at the camp is an experience they repeat year after year. The activities included snowshoeing, horse riding, snowmobile rides, and a trip to Challenge Mountain. Unlike last year when there was little snow, this camp experience offered quality downhill skiing and snowboarding.
"One of the most rewarding things, for me, has been to watch how young people's lives have been transformed by working with the blind and vice versa. The reality is, that under normal circumstances, neither group would have developed such friendships which have so positively impacted their lives,” said camp director Pat Page, who also coordinates the work of the NCB from Oshawa, Canada. According to NCB, since 1998, over 1,000 campers, volunteers and staff have been a part of the camp experience.
For Kainen Gilley, 23, from Water Valley, Mississippi, the Michigan winter camp was his first. He has attended Camp Yorktown Bay in Arkansas for three summer sessions.
Kainen was so excited about coming to winter camp that he told his relatives all he wanted for Christmas was snow clothes for winter camp. He said he never experienced so much snow and loved the time and activities at the camp. "I want to come back next year," he told Peggy Hansen, Associate Camp Director for NCBC, a sister organization with NCB. Kainen's passion for sports and meeting new people, as well as more travel, is an experience he wants to repeat again, and again, he said.