Blind Immersion Training Week Jump-Starts Eleven Students to Success

Immersion students and teachers pose next to Lake Lokoya on a crisp, chilly dayLast month students from the Bay Area and North Coast came together for Changing Vision Changing Life Immersion week at Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind. The Immersion is a week-long session where students have a real workout on the skills that will keep them as independent as possible with changing vision, whether it be improving their use of the technology that brings the print world to them or walking with confidence through our beautiful campgrounds.

Why come to Changing Vision Changing Life Immersion? As one student said, “It was time for me. Time to learn how to do things differently, time to become more independent, time to start living.” Each day during Immersion is a long one, but highly fulfilling. Guided by our talented teaching team, participants work individually or in small groups. Bonds of peer support develop, some lasting well beyond the week. The days are punctuated by delicious, healthy meals and bookended by morning yoga and late night walks in the fresh air of Enchanted Hills. The Immersion program is powerful, propelling people forward in their lives, like a rocket booster into the future.

Rocky Camp and his sister, Jane Micks, both have low vision caused by the same eye condition. Rocky told us, “I felt tremendous trepidation before I arrived at camp…But from the moment I arrived, I felt as if I was with my compatriots; those who, from their own personal experience, shared my journey. Your staff was amazing. Right from the very beginning there was just this wonderful lightness, a sense of humor, which really made me feel comfortable. I learned so much…my assessment of the week can be encapsulated in one phrase; life changing.”

The days during Immersion are filled with opportunities for connection. Our new mentor trainers, Gail McGaster and Jeff Buckwalter both have low vision and they shared their experiences and learned from the students’ stories. Six of the students, all who have changing vision due to retinitis pigmentosa, found this commonality led to good conversations and rapport. And LightHouse Board member Jerry Kuns, who was at camp for another project, stopped by to share his experience. The group found it heartening to hear about some of the challenges this seasoned and successful member of the blind community still deals with, reminding us that this journey towards independence is ongoing and ever enriching.

Is your vision changing? Are you ready to make a commitment to yourself, to be the director of your journey? Our next Changing Vision Changing Life Immersion Training at Enchanted Hills is Sunday, April 12 through Friday, April 17. To participate, contact Debbie Bacon at 415-694-7357 in San Francisco; Janet Pomerantz at 707-268-5646 in the North Coast or Jeff Carlson at 415-258-8496 in Marin. Immersion students come from all over Northern California. Join us!