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Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind

The best part about blind camp

By Annalisa DiLeonardo, Assistant Director, Enchanted Hills Camp

I’ve been attending Enchanted Hills Camp for nine summers now, seven as part of the staff. I have low vision, but prior to my first summer attending EHC, I’d never really met another person with low vision, except one gentleman in high school.

I owe a lot to EHC for making me into who I am today. In the sighted community I sometimes feel like a fish out of water. At Enchanted Hills I’m with people just like me. Everyone deals with the same challenges and we can share our stories, tips and tricks. We don’t have to worry about what people think of us.

Campers with white canes walk in front of peaceful Lake Lokoya.
Campers with white canes walk in front of peaceful Lake Lokoya.

Each summer, I make a point of taking a step back mentally when we all gather at the campfire together. This year I did my thinking during the dance competition campers have come to enjoy every year. While I could sing many praises to EHC and take many pages to tell you about the great things there, what really blows my mind is how we all come from so many different walks of life but are connected at camp through this one special thing – our blindness. For example, at this year’s Teen Camp session, campers and staff came from parts of the world as diverse as Australia, China and Poland, plus all over the USA. It was so amazing to see the dining hall filled with at least 100 people who are all immersed in the world of blindness in their own special way.

Yes, there are cultural differences between us, but that doesn’t matter at EHC. Language barriers don’t seem to matter either – we all come together to enjoy each other and the wonderful activities camp has to offer. We all “get” each other. This is truly the best part about Enchanted Hills Camp.

As our community knows, in a single afternoon in October 2017, half of Enchanted Hills burned to the ground or experienced fire and smoke damage. You can help us rebuild Enchanted Hills Camp better than ever. Thank you for your support!

About Enchanted Hills Camp

Enchanted Hills Camp and Retreat serves blind children, teens, adults, deaf-blind, seniors, as well as families of the blind.

Since 1950, Enchanted Hills has provided valuable opportunities for recreation in a fun, challenging and accessible way. Located on 311 acres on scenic Mt. Veeder, Enchanted Hills is just 10 miles west of Napa, California.

The experience of summer camp holds countless opportunities for enjoyment and learning in many a young person’s life. Whether it’s exploring a trail in the woods or creating a skit as a team to perform in front of an audience, camp provides a wealth of structured and unrestricted moments that contribute to childhood socialization, growth and development.

Enchanted Hills Camp is pleased to announce its schedule for 2019.

Founded in 1950 by Rose Resnick, Enchanted Hills was the first camp of its kind on the West Coast, to fill a void as there was not one recreational facility for blind children to explore, thrive and gain confidence. Owned and managed by the LightHouse, Enchanted Hills retains much of its original character while benefitting from constant structural improvements.

A teenage camper does archery up at EHC. A group of smiling campers stand in the background.

Year-round, we hold our flagship blindness skills immersion training “Changing Vision, Changing Lives” at camp in addition to offering one-off classes for blind individuals of all ages and levels of sight. In the warm months, Enchanted Hills is constantly abuzz with classes, retreats and educational academies for blind, deaf-blind, and those with low vision or multiple disabilities. This includes a blind chemistry camp, music academy, horse camp, a national woodworkers meeting, deaf-blind camp, specialty small woodworking lessons, and programs for blind babies and their families. We also host corporate gatherings, fellow nonprofits, and other civic organizations on a regular basis.

If you’re interested in renting Enchanted Hills for your own event or private retreat, learn more here or contact Tony Fletcher at afletcher@lighthouse-sf.org.