This summer Camp Director Tony Fletcher and his enthusiastic team of staff and counselors gave campers of all ages a series of invigorating sessions this summer at Enchanted Hills Camp. Read on for summaries and select photos from this summer’s sessions at Enchanted Hills Camp. Don’t forget to go to the Enchanted Hills Camp Facebook page where you can view or add to our growing EHC Summer 2015 photo album.
Blind Music Academy
This year’s Blind Music Academy attracted 14 students from U.S., Canada and Mexico. Bill McCann, President and Founder of Dancing Dots, spent the week with the aspiring musicians, making for a second successful year. This musical week of learning culminated in the first-ever Music Academy concert on the Redwood Grove Theater stage to a full audience of campers, families and friends of Enchanted Hills Camp. Each participant had an opportunity to perform either has a solo or in group ensemble.
The audience raved about the performances and left with smiles on their faces. Enchanted Hills Camp supporter and concert attendee Christina McNair wrote, “Is this an amazing rendition of Santana’s Black Magic Woman or what – OMG??!! Wow! All young band members visually impaired or blind – honestly blew me away! Participant Daniel Cavazos wrote, “Can’t wait to do it all again next summer! Definitely one of, if not the greatest highlights of the summer and this year.
Here’s the video recording of the performance:
Enchanted Hills Camp Director Tony Fletcher said, “I think the musicianship of the students in our classes is just outstanding. Director Bill McCann and Assistant Director Roberto Gonzales really are class acts to work with and their teaching skills were evident by how well the students grew musically throughout the week. We’re eager to expand the length of the program and make room for more students, so stay tuned for news about Music Academy 2016.”
This year’s Horse Camp, our first, was led by avid horseback rider and wrangler, Diane Starin. Starin, who is blind, has owned, ridden, taught and cared for horses for more than 30 years. She has an Associates of Science degree in agricultural business, a Certificate in Horse Husbandry and is a certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor.
Young campers spent the first part of the week learning how to care for horses and their equipment (saddles, reins, bits, helmets, lead ropes) and this progressed into independent riding of the horses.
Camp Director Tony Fletcher said, “It’s the first time that a horse camp has ever been offered at EHC. The participants gained a lot more knowledge and confidence about what makes horses tick as well as all about the materials necessary to care for both horses and the equipment used to ride. They became more confident in their ability to ride independently on the new horse trail constructed this year by our AmeriCorps volunteers.”
“My favorite part of stem camp was when we got to dissect a shark. Although smelly, it was very informative to be able to feel inside the shark’s innards, and learn what each part of the shark does.” – Nikki, TouchSTEM camper
“In school, I’m usually sidelined during class experiments, but at TouchSTEM Academy, I led the experiments.” – TouchSTEM Camper
This August, the LightHouse partnered with WizKidz Science and Technology Centers Inc. to offer a TouchSTEM summer science track. WizKidz Science and Technology Centers has been at the forefront in delivering accessible outreach efforts in STEM education for visually impaired youth.
WizKidz brought in UC Berkeley students majoring in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to provide a concentrated dose of those subjects to eighteen blind kids, ages 11 to 15, using cutting-edge, blind-accessible techniques and tools. Here teens safely ignited clouds of gasses, dissected sea creatures and co-piloted planes. Students like Kevin Leong had the time of their lives taking the yoke of a plane to help the TouchSTEM pilot bank left over the hills.
TouchSTEM is about three things: 1) Sparking STEM interest in blind teens, 2) educating teens, parents, and schools about accessible techniques and tools that enrich STEM learning, and 3) building confidence by shattering misconceptions about blindness. Teacher-counselors made sure this educational camp session was literally exploding with excitement.
We salute our budding STEM professionals and cannot wait to see the things they invent, cure and create.