17-year-old Karl, who hails from Maui, Hawaii, attended Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind’s Teen Session for the first time in 2017. Growing up as the only visually impaired person in his community, Karl didn’t have any blind role models. But when he made the choice to hop on a plane from Hawaii and wind his way up Mount Veeder, he found an abundance of people to learn from.
Like Karl, almost all Enchanted Hills counselors are blind themselves, a real rarity among camps for the blind. In 2018, Karl returned to Enchanted Hills as a counselor-in-training. What brought him back, he says, was the warm community and the chance to be a leader.
Karl says his journey with his vision hasn’t always been easy, but the Enchanted Hills community helped him find himself as a young adult.
“If you’re the only visually impaired person in your social group, it’s so new for you to talk to other blind people,” Karl says. “This community helps us say to each other and ourselves, ‘This is how strong we are.’”
With the guidance of our dedicated team, campers try things they might never have an opportunity to do anywhere else, like archery, woodworking, and climbing trees. Enchanted Hills is a refuge away from well-meaning but overprotective parents and teachers, where blind kids learn their true abilities and grow a sense of self-worth.
For 70 years, all of this has been made possible by the support of community members like you.
Enchanted Hills was hit hard by the 2017 Napa wildfires. Our lower camp cabins were leveled, the stage at the Redwood Grove Theater melted, and 600 trees were lost. Yet, thanks to the contributions of donors like you, we built temporary bungalows to house campers for a successful summer 2018.
Still, our work is nowhere close to done. In addition to rebuilding from the fire, just this March, tempestuous winds and torrential downpours damaged the camp facilities further. The site became flooded, and now requires about $100,000 in repairs.
We still need support to rebuild Enchanted Hills to be a resource for the blind community year-round. Donate today.
You can also support camp by joining the LightHouse community for an evening of rock and opera in Martinez on June 12. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit the concert event page.