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Last month Enchanted Hills Camp hosted an intensive three-day/two-night retreat for fifteen primarily Spanish speaking Napa Valley families with blind or low-vision, multi-disabled youngsters. It was the first time the LightHouse specifically sought to have a camp session at Enchanted Hills for families living only in Napa County. The result: incredible community building and support.
The retreat was made possible through a generous grant from the Napa Valley Community Foundation. The LightHouse collaborated with the Napa Valley Unified School District, Parents CAN (a Napa-based family support organization) and Blind Babies Foundation to offer recreation such as hiking, arts and crafts and sports for the children while at the same time offering workshops for their parents.
It was our goal to make these campers feel comfortable while providing information, resources and the chance to bond in the “enchanted” setting of our beautiful camp. It was life-changing for these kids and their parents who live with little connection or support. Almost none of them had ever met a parent of a blind child before, and the community-building was palpable.
LightHouse volunteers and staff, many of whom are bilingual, guided the children as they played and translated presentations for parents into Spanish. Among a number of offerings, San Francisco State Special Education Professor Amanda Lueck talked about how to develop individual education plans (IEP) for the children; Adaptations Store Manager Isabel Arreola made a presentation on adaptive aids; we formed a peer support group for parents to share their stories about raising children with disabilities and Camp Director Tony Fletcher lead a walking tour that focused on the camp’s long history.
While the parents attended the workshops, the children enjoyed activities such as boating on the lake, bowling, archery, horseshoes and arts and crafts. Later parents joined their children for swim time at the Enchanted Hills pool, a demonstration of solar cooking and nature hikes.
Feedback from the families was extremely positive and as the session concluded there were tears, hugs and joy at the connections made. One of the fathers was heard to say, “I’ve been harvesting grapes for forty years, in the vineyards right around the camp. All that time I’ve focused only on my family’s income and making money. I never realized how close I was and how profoundly I would be moved by this beautiful place.”
Tony Fletcher said, “Our overarching goal was to connect families with each other and to services that they might not be aware of, and to also let them see how Enchanted Hills can be an ongoing resource. It was very humbling to be around so many grateful recipients of our services. I felt proud to be part of a LightHouse team that offered this wonderful opportunity for these families.”
Did you know that you can specify a planned gift such as a bequest to a particular LightHouse program, such as Enchanted Hills Camp? The LightHouse is able to operate our extraordinary camp in large part because of people like you who have remembered the camp in their will or estate planning. And we’re excited about what magic will be happening in the next 63 years, as well as in the next 63 days.
The 2013 camp season has already begun and this year we’ve extended the camp season to fit in even more transformative sessions of camp for the blind and visually impaired. We launched the season with a group of blind high school students at our Transition Summit, where they learned key leadership skills which will help them through college and advance in their careers.
Then we hosted a session of Chemistry Camp where blind teenagers came to learn hands-on chemistry. Chemistry Camp is led by Hoby Wedler, a blind chemist who was honored by President Obama last year for his accomplishments in science. KQED did a radio piece on the camp entitled, Chemistry by Smell. You can listen to it here.
Hoby thinks science is an ideal career path for the visually impaired. As he says, “No one can see an atom. You have to conceive of an atom.”
And we are looking forward to the remainder of the camp season, with three more family camps, youth camp, teen camp, alumni session (where many of the adult campers attended as children over 50 years ago!) and camp for those with special needs. We are especially excited about the return of the Deaf-Blind session in August, providing a bonding and relaxing retreat for a population that rarely gets a chance to swim, dance and hang around the campfire as a community.
You can be instrumental in making the magic of Enchanted Hills Camp happen, not just for this summer, but for magic summers deep into the 21st Century. A planned gift for Enchanted Hills helps us have the financial stability to provide unparalleled learning, adventure and relaxation for blind and low vision people of all ages. Enchanted Hills changes lives. At camp people meet mentors, they make friends, sometimes they find love. Won’t you take a moment to make a planned gift to Enchanted Hills Camp to sustain EHC for years to come?
We can help. If you need simple ways to modify your will, or to designate Enchanted Hills Camp for your later giving, we can connect you with other friends of the camp, such as estate attorneys, who have helped us for years. And if you already have designated Enchanted Hills in your will or IRA, we’d love to know about it. For more information or to notify us of your intentions, contact Jennifer at 415-694-7333 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We still have spaces available in our youth sessions:
Kids Session (Kids 3rd through 8th grade): July 15 – July 21
Teen Session (Kids 9th through 12th grade): July 28 – Aug 3
Please join us for a fun filled summer! Remember, for blind or visually-impaired kids under the age of 18 the LightHouse provides an entire session for only a $60 registration fee.
Deaf-Blind Session: August 15 – Aug 18 (for information about this session contact Sook Hee Choi, Deaf-Blind Specialist at email@example.com or Video Phone: 415-255-5906.)
Last month LightHouse and San Francisco Parks and Recreation’s Project Insight held a gathering for blind and low-vision youth and their families at Golden Gate Park. Here new families got to mingle with families already a part of our network. The weather was beautiful and kids and adults alike enjoyed activities such as hand painting and competitions such as the one where you race while balancing a cup of water on your head (predictably, this turned into a fantastic water fight). And we congratulate Shahzar Qureshi and runner-up Melissa Hadiyanto, winners of the freeze dance competition.
LightHouse staffers Molly Irish and John cooked hamburgers and hotdogs for the crowd while Project Insight’s (Big) Ben Oude Kamphuis and his team contributed a huge salad made of organic vegetables grown in the Project Insight garden. And finally, the teenage contingent, most of them friends from Enchanted Hills Camp, took advantage of the moment to catch up with each other long after the rest of their families were worn out.
Did you miss out? Be sure to join us next time. Check the LightHouse website calendar regularly for upcoming events like this, or sign up for Beth Berenson’s weekly Community Services Activities and Events List at firstname.lastname@example.org. A hearty thank you to all who attended!
BJ Epstein began her association with the LightHouse in March of 2011 working on the Accessible BART Station Map Project, a collaboration between LightHouse and Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute. This innovative project, funded by a New Freedom grant, will produce talking tactile maps of each BART station and will allow those who are blind or have low vision to independently navigate this essential public transport system, enabling them to be active participants in their communities.
BJ began work on this project as a volunteer, creating base maps for our team of volunteer surveyors (architects and Orientation and Mobility Specialists) to use in assessing the important features of each BART station at street, concourse, and platform levels. She also participated in the station surveys. She then was hired by the LightHouse to take those surveys and create tactile map designs using the software program AutoCAD.
BJ has a Masters in Architecture from Iowa State University and a minor in Accessibility. Regular meetings with blind team members, including Smith-Kettlewell scientist Joshua Miele and architect Chris Downey, have given her a better understanding of what it means to navigate the world blind, as well as how blind people read documents, especially those documents traditionally thought to be primarily visual – such as maps. This experience has taught her how best to represent paths of travel, landmarks and obstacles on maps and combined with her experience as a designer, drafter and accessibility consultant, it ensures that our maps will be accessible to, and usable by, those with any level of vision.
BJ continues to be integral to the Accessible BART Station Map Project as well as the Accessible Muni Metro Station Map Project and supports LightHouse staff in creating Braille, audio recordings, e-text, Tactile Maps and Graphics and providing Accessibility Consultation to businesses, government agencies, museums, exhibitors and designers with a focus on making their information accessible. She told us, “It’s very exciting to use these emerging technologies and see how they can assist people with various abilities. I’m grateful for this opportunity to make the world a better place.”
Can BJ and the full AIS team help your company with access? Start by contacting Greg Kehret, Director of Access to Information Services, at 415-694-7349 or email@example.com.
Why should you consider therapy at the LightHouse?
Well, first, because we’ve hired one of the best practitioners in the field. And also because in some instances working with a therapist who deeply understands blindness and low vision can yield quicker and stronger results than working with practitioners unfamiliar with what our community experiences every day. Whether reaching your life goals requires a short or a long-term approach, the LightHouse is uniquely positioned to respond with expertise and sensitivity.
We now offer counseling, psychotherapy and consultation for people of all ages who are blind or visually impaired and/or their family members. Individual, couples, family and group services can help to promote healthier emotional development, social participation and the ability to talk about and understand feelings, in a safe, confidential setting.
Meet LightHouse Therapist Connie Conley-Jung
Dr. Connie Conley-Jung is a licensed clinical psychologist who has recently joined our staff. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology. She has a Master’s degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Learning Disabilities from San Francisco State University and a B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford University. Her lifelong experience as a visually impaired person, in addition to her professional experiences in educational and community nonprofit settings, enable Dr. Conley-Jung to share her clinical expertise and extensive knowledge of resources with clients and colleagues alike. Dr. Conley-Jung is committed to helping LightHouse clients of all ages achieve their goals and sustain an improved quality of life and overall wellbeing.
For more information about counseling and psychological services at the LightHouse, please contact Dr. Connie Conley-Jung via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 415-694-7307.
Many Sources of Support
Fees vary by service. You may be surprised that many insurance programs actively support family and individual therapy and may be able to pay for some or all of the treatment costs. Currently Dr. Conley-Jung accepts private insurance, Medicare, Alameda County Medi-Cal, UnitedHealthCare Military and Veterans (formerly TriCare), Victims of Crime, private pay, and Department of Rehabilitation referrals). Actual coverage may vary, so please contact Dr. Conley-Jung to discuss. Payment arrangements and fee adjustments may be available for those who demonstrate a financial need.
In June the LightHouse of the North Coast will join a panel of local vision resource providers.
When: Saturday, June 8 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Where: Humboldt County Main Library, 1313 Third Street, Eureka, next to the Ingomar Club
Ali O. Lee, LightHouse Vision Rehabilitation Services Coordinator, will talk about LightHouse services, local resources and how the LightHouse continues to work with the library to increase access to information. Frances Rapin, who is to be the 2013 recipient of the Friends of the Library’s Community Service Award, will speak about how, with the help of LightHouse’s Vision Rehabilitation Services, her life has changed as her vision has changed. Librarian Rachael Harwood will discuss how people with low vision or blindness can continue to access library services. For more information, call the Humboldt County Main Library reference desk at 707-269-1905.
Are you interested in the services LightHouse of the North Coast can provide? Contact us at 707-268-5646, TTY: 707-268-5655.
Come experience the magic of Enchanted Hills during the camp season:
When: July 27, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
What: Camp Tours, Swimming, BBQ, Paddle Boating, Wine Tasting
Where: Enchanted Hills Camp, 3410 Mt. Veeder Road, Napa, CA
Who: Anyone who loves BBQ, Biking, or Swimming and wants to experience the wonders of Enchanted Hills
Tickets: $20.00 in advance, $25.00 at the door. $10 for those under 21.
A bike ride too? Yes! Start the day with a 9:00 a.m. cycle on Mt. Veeder with the Eagle Cycling Club. More details below.
For updated information and to buy your tickets online click on the “Learn More” button below or email email@example.com or 415-694-7350.
Cycle on Mt. Veeder
The ride will leave the Redwood Middle School parking lot on Oxford St. (just off Redwood Rd via Carol Dr.) promptly at 9:00. We will loop through Carneros (about 20 pretty flat miles) first. Then those not wanting to ride up the hill can easily return to their cars and drive up to Enchanted Hills.
For those wanting more, we’ll ride up Dry Creek Road to Mt. Veeder Road to Enchanted Hills (an additional 10 moderate to steep miles). There will be a car to carry stuff up the hill, but riders need to be able to carry their own stuff down, if they don’t have a ride down. Since it’s only 10 miles back to the cars, 9 of which are downhill, any sort of backpack should work fine. The backpack can go uphill with the car. We will have a rider riding sweep, so nobody will be stranded or dropped. A map and profile of each course can be found here and here.
You may have heard of Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind. Now the LightHouse presents a Day Camp led by our experienced staff. This summer, the San Francisco LightHouse is offering three summer day camp sessions for blind and low-vision youth based out of San Francisco.
Each camp session promises to be exciting, educational and fun-filled. Before and after care is also available (see cost below).
Camp Hours: 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Child Care: for day camp participants only, is offered from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. (computer/technology activities and adaptive cooking classes) and 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (creative arts activities).
Space is limited, so register now! Attendance is by RSVP for an entire week of activities. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate single day attendance or drop-ins.
Application deadline is Wednesday June 5, 2013.
$175.00/week for onsite activities and field trips (from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) $275.00/week for onsite activities and field trips plus a.m. /p.m. childcare.
Each child will receive a LightHouse Summer Camp t-shirt.
Payment must be received prior to attendance. To apply or for more information, contact Jamey Gump, Youth Services Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-694-7372 or John Liang, Director of Community Services at email@example.com or 415-694-7334.
Summer Day Camp Schedule
- Session 1: Discovery Camp – Science and Technology for Grades K-8 (ages 5-12) June 10 through June 14, 2013
- Monday 6/10: Lawrence Hall of Science
- Tuesday 6/11: The Exploratorium
- Wednesday 6/12: NASA Ames Exploration Center/Walking tour of Google
- Thursday 6/13: Lindsey Wildlife Center
- Friday 6/14: The Tech Museum
- Session 2: Urban Explorer’s Camp for Grades K-8 (ages 5-12) June 17 through June 21, 2013
- Monday 6/17: Planet Granite and Presidio Bowl
- Tuesday 6/18: Chinatown/Chinatown Ghost Tour and Dim Sum
- Wednesday 6/19: Kite Flying at Ocean Beach
- Thursday 6/20: Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39
- Friday: 6/21: SF Cable Car Ride and Tour of the Cable Car Museum
- Session 3: Adventure Camp for Grades 9-12 (ages 12-18) June 24, through June 28, 2013
- Monday 6/24: Six Flags Marine World
- Tuesday 6/25: Boomers
- Wednesday 6/26: Lands’ End Hike (walk the San Francisco Water Front)
- Thursday 6/27: Horseback Riding
- Friday 6/28: Santa Cruz Boardwalk
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Jernigan Institute is again collaborating with the Smith-Kettlewell Video Description Research and Development Center to host a stakeholder focus group on advanced concepts in video description. The focus group will be held during the 2013 NFB National Convention in Orlando, Florida. This year there will be two sessions for slightly different audiences. There is only space for ten attendees in each session, and participants must register in advance for this important meeting.
Both sessions will be held Monday, July 1. Session I will be from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and Session II will be from 1:00-3:00 p.m. (the exact meeting room will be announced prior to the convention).
Those interested in participating in this focus group should send an e-mail to Beth Braun at the NFB Jernigan Institute with the following information:
- Your full name
- The best e-mail address to use in communicating with you prior to the convention
- A cell phone number that can be used to reach you at the convention
- Are you blind?
- Are you fluent in English?
- Are you a non-native English speaker?
- An indication of which of the following categories applies to you (include all that apply):
- K-12 student
- Undergraduate student
- Graduate student
- Teacher of blind students
- Rehabilitation professional
- Educator not working with blind students
- Parent of a blind child
- Consumer of video description
- Professional not working in a blindness- or education-related field
If you are unable to e-mail your interest in the focus group, you can reach Beth at (410) 659-9314, extension 2369.
An opportunity for sighted amateur describers to evaluate YouDescribe¬Smith-Kettlewell’s new Web-based video-description tool for YouTube. Participants will test the system by recording their own descriptions for selected videos and report on their experience.
An opportunity for blind video description consumers to evaluate YouDescribe¬Smith-Kettlewell’s new Web-based video-description tool for YouTube. Participants will test the system by navigating the Web site to listen to selected described YouTube videos and will report on their experience.
Participants in Session II will need to provide their own Windows7, Apple, or Chrome laptop, and must be familiar with their screen-reading software and Web browser. The laptops must have Wi-Fi connectivity (Wi-Fi provided). They will also need to provide their own headphones.
Please respond with your interest no later than June 10.
Note that participants will not be picked on a first-come-first-served basis but rather to ensure that the focus group has a good mix of perspectives.