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Camper Spotlight: Billy Lei

Camper Spotlight: Billy Lei

Nineteen-year-old Enchanted Hills camper Billy Lei bubbles with enthusiasm as he describes his first session at EHC, saying, “I loved Enchanted Hills from the first moment I got there. I loved the space, the trees, the people, all of it!”

Billy moved with his family from China to Sacramento eight years ago. They moved in part to give Billy the education he couldn’t get in China, where children with disabilities are often shuttered away. It was a big change. He says, “I was just eleven when I came here. I didn’t know the language and remember having to adjust to the hotter weather and different food.” Despite these challenges, Billy began to sharpen his English, dig into academics and learn how to relate to his American peers.

And Billy wanted to do more than that. At first, he might have been mistaken for shy, but he explains, “…that’s not really my nature. I learned a lot in school, but I wanted to become more confident and push myself even more.” That is exactly what he did at Enchanted Hills.

Since 1950, Enchanted Hills Camp, sprawling across 311 idyllic acres in the redwoods of Napa, is the place where children and adults who are blind or have low vision try new things, experience the grandeur of wilderness and make lifelong friends. Each year Enchanted Hills offers more than 550 campers the chance to enjoy nature while learning all kinds of skills, from archery to tactile crafts, from campfire-building to horseback riding.

Billy jumped at the chance to go to camp. Once there he learned to navigate the undulating campus and enjoy all that the camp had to offer. He tells us, “There’s so much that I love about Enchanted Hills. I love nature – I love hiking and the feeling of open space, the sound of the birds – it’s a happy place to be and I can really relax my mind. I love all kinds of physical activity and I took my very first martial arts class there. I liked it so much that I continue to take classes here at home.”

Camp Director Tony Fletcher says, “Billy is a great role model for the younger campers and he always takes advantage of the opportunities offered to him. We’ve seen how EHC can be a gateway to the deep learning of the rest of the LightHouse. Billy has run with this. He really threw himself into camp life. Now he’s getting ready to take on the working world as an active member of LightHouse’s Youth programs. He is learning how to do a great job interview.”

This summer, hundreds of young campers will set up their cabins and meet blind friends, old and new. Together they will gain confidence and a sense of pride in who they are. Please donate to help us continue to make camp a place for blind kids to discover themselves.

View the full list of our camp sessions here. We still have spaces at our STEAM Camp, the special tech track in our youth camp session, from July 12 to 15 — learn more about this dynamic and educational session on our website.

Donation Spotlight: Other Ways to Give

Donation Spotlight: Other Ways to Give

Photo: LightHouse student Angela Palmer (left) and LightHouse Deaf-Blind Specialist Sook Hee Choi.

Contributing a gift to the LightHouse helps provide unparalleled training and community for people of all ages who are blind. Your support is vital. To make a donation click here.

Another important aspect of LightHouse’s sustainability is Legacy Giving. We ask you to consider naming LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired as a beneficiary of your will or trust. A gift through your estate ensures that your commitment to LightHouse programs for people of all ages who are blind or have low vision will continue beyond your lifetime, and have a lasting impact on LightHouse’s work. For more information on leaving a legacy, click here.

Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, especially those with long-term capital gains, are popular gift assets because they may generate multiple tax benefits. These benefits include a charitable income tax deduction of the stock, bond, or mutual fund’s market value on the date the asset is received by the LightHouse and no capital gains tax on the appreciation. Most stocks are transferred electronically. Talk to your accountant or financial adviser about the benefits such a gift may provide for you.

Have your stocks, bonds, or mutual funds depreciated? If these types of assets have gone down in value, you may find there is an advantage to selling the stock, bond or mutual fund, recognizing a loss, and then contributing the cash proceeds of the sale to LightHouse for the Blind. An accountant or financial adviser can help you determine the best option for you.

If you have questions or need our account info to transfer assets, you or your broker can contact us at 415.694.7333 or jsachs@lighthouse-sf.org.