Redwood trees at Enchanted Hills Camp in Napa, CA

Mount Veder Echoes with the Sound of a Beating Drum as the First DeafBlind Camp since 2019 is Held at EHC

Last week, 19 DeafBlind campers converged on Enchanted Hills Camp (EHC) in Napa for the first time in three years. DeafBlind people as a group across the world have experienced a different, and arguably more complete form of isolation than many during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the necessary masking and social distancing, a group who relies on touch and proximity to people, to communicate through tactile signing onto hands, lost that connection. The DeafBlind Community was forced to, where possible, adopt and adapt other means of communication, like using phones connected to the internet with attached refreshable braille as their main method of two-way communication. This reduced interaction to a bare minimum. Only being able to interact at a distance or with technologically imposed time delays can be incredibly frustrating.
This is why we kicked off the 2022 EHC summer season by inviting this group to be the first to travel to Napa this year to revel in the chance to reconnect and be together, while breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the touch of nature on hands and feet.

COVID-19 safety guidelines were assiduously followed, with all staff, volunteers, and campers required to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test before coming to camp. Indoor masking, except when sleeping or eating, was also observed. A talented group of Support Service Providers took part as guides and activity facilitators.
The focus for this cohort of adults of a wide range of ages was to socialize and be in the company of other DeafBlind people. An array of activities was available to create that special feeling of achieving, making, or building something as a collective.
Campers did paddle-boating, archery, and hiked the trails. There were arts and crafts for the creatives among the group: painters painted while others built wooden birdhouses. Bingo cards in large print and Braille were there for those who like a bit of friendly competition.

The hands-down favorite activity appears to have been musical chairs. Along with the campers, our distant EHC Napa neighbors may have also enjoyed the strong beat of a resonant bass drum that all campers could feel vibrating through their beings. When the beat stopped, campers scrambled for a seat.
We hope our DeafBlind campers had a great time and are catching up on their sleep! There’s no rest and not much breathing space for EHC staff as they busily prepare for the next excited group. The newest members of our LightHouse community, the students of our brand new LightHouse Little Learners Program and their families, are taking over the cabins and the trails at EHC only a few days after this group. We wish them a welcome and magical experience.