Tag Archive

ehc

The LightHouse 2020 LightHouse Annual Report is Here

The LightHouse 2020 LightHouse Annual Report is Here

2020 was a highly unusual year for everyone around the world. Despite such unprecedented circumstances, we are proud to present the 2020 Annual Report, documenting how LightHouse supported the blind community through a global pandemic in new and innovative ways.

In 2020 we were proud to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of Enchanted Hills Camp, and announced ambitious plans to reimagine the entire camp as a global center for blindness, with construction planned over the next few years.

In other news, big things happened at LightHouse Industries: Sirkin Center, LightHouse’s blind labor-force manufacturing plant. We expanded the production line, including adding a hard surface cleaner effective at killing the novel coronavirus. We doubled our staff and hired a blind scientist to oversee the product blends. Our customer base of government agencies and private companies continues to grow, and so do the employment opportunities for people who are blind or have low vision. Watch the BBC’s coverage of Sirkin Center’s unprecedented growth.

Read on to learn more about LightHouse and its 2020 achievements in the annual report in PDF or Word format.

Did Chris Downey make it across the English Channel?

Did Chris Downey make it across the English Channel?

Last Saturday, April 17, LightHouse held its annual Cycle for Sight fundraiser for Enchanted Hills Camp (EHC). After cancelling Cycle for Sight in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were thrilled to bring the event back, this year in a virtual format.

Participants first gathered Saturday morning on Zoom for an opening ceremony, before getting down to business and exercising for at least 90 minutes, by hiking, running, swimming, and yes cycling, before gathering for an afterparty in the afternoon.

Two weeks ago we brought to you the story of Chris Downey, renowned architect who is blind and the immediate past LightHouse Board President and current board member. Chris has taken part in Cycle for Sight for the past ten years. This year, with the event’s virtual format, Chris used his garage rowing machine, along with some high-tech gadgets, to row across the English Channel a distance of 33.8 kilometers.

So how did it go? HE DID IT!!
Chris says:

“It was a fun experience and I’m thrilled it paid off with this level of support to the LightHouse and Enchanted Hills Camp. the (virtual) water was splendid as was the weather. The row was intense  – especially the extra 15K  beyond my weekly Saturday row. All went according to plan and I was able to knock it out without injury or total exhaustion. That said, there was nothing left in the tank had there been any challenge to row back to the other side! I could sense a little protest from my body when resuming my regular workout routine this morning – no pain, just lethargy!”

Oh and what’s more? Chris raised $15,500 for EHC.

Thank you, Chris!

This Year, Roll Your Own Cycle for Sight

This Year, Roll Your Own Cycle for Sight

We’re thrilled to announce the return of Cycle for Sight, an annual fundraiser for Enchanted Hills Camp (EHC) that we’ve held for nearly 20 years. Cycle for Sight is run in partnership with the Rotary Club of Napa. Through Cycle for Sight, we raise funds for camperships.

Last year, in the beginning months of the pandemic, Cycle for Sight, like many other events, was cancelled. A year later, after we’ve all learned how to hold events online, Cycle for Sight returns, in virtual form.

Traditionally, Cycle for Sight involves people riding bike routes of 15, 25, or 50 miles through the landscapes of Napa Valley to raise funds for EHC. Many blind and sighted bike riders team up to share the experience together on a tandem bicycle. This year’s virtual format provides new opportunities, which Camp Director Tony Fletcher is excited about.

“I encourage people to use the day to do some form of creative exercise. You can still ride a bike for 15, 25 or 50 miles, or you can do something else that involves 90 minutes of exercise, like hiking, swimming, running, or walking. It’s great that people who haven’t been able to participate in Cycle for Sight before will have many ways to do so this year.”

On April 17, the day will start with a virtual opening ceremony. Then everyone will go out and exercise for EHC and reconvene online in the afternoon for an after party.

We encourage you to post photos of yourself exercising on the day with the hashtag #C4S2021 on social media.

You have two registration options this year. General registration is $45 and comes with a goody bag. VIP registration is $85, and you will get an enhanced goody bag.

Exercising with a physically distanced group? You can create a team. Want to supercharge your fundraising? Why not create a fundraising team?

You can also buy a Cycle for Sight registration as a giftfor someone else or donate to Cycle for Sight.

We can’t wait to hear how you’re going to participate.

RSVP for Cycle For Sight by April 15

Local running Club’s “White Dress Run” supports Enchanted Hills Camp

Local running Club’s “White Dress Run” supports Enchanted Hills Camp

On February 24, East Bay Hash House Harriers, a Bay Area Running Club, held an Enchanted Hills Camp Fundraiser in honor of Christie Ivanstrom, a member who is blind. The run was a farewell, as Christie and her husband Tim are moving out of the Bay Area. To mark the occasion, they held a “White Dress Run” that raised $1,290 for the remarkable programs of EHC. In accordance with local ordinance the event was held socially distanced, with staggered start times and masked, of course.

Would you like to hold a fundraiser to support the LightHouse or Enchanted Hills Camp? To start planning with us complete the “Host a LightHouse Fundraising Event” form to start the planning.

If you have questions about fundraising for LightHouse, please contact Jennifer Sachs, Director of Development at jsachs@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7333.

Looking for a Summer Job? Spend the Summer at Enchanted Hills Camp

Looking for a Summer Job? Spend the Summer at Enchanted Hills Camp

Do you love the outdoors? Want to work with youth who are blind or have low vision? Would you like to boost your resume? Then why not come spend the summer at Enchanted Hills Camp (EHC)? We’re hiring for several seasonal positions.  With 311 acres, we’ve got plenty of outdoor space and will be following all CDC guidelines for summer camps.

We’re looking for camp counselors, an assistant director, a nurse and program area leaders. Program area leaders develop and oversee different categories of activities of campers. This year we’re looking for leaders for aquatics, nature, arts & crafts, recreation, enrichment and equestrian activities.

If you are creative, adaptable and can communicate a blindness-positive philosophy to others we encourage you to read through the EHC job descriptions on our careers page and apply. If you know someone who’d be a great fit for a summer job at EHC please, pass this info along.

If you have any questions about camp reach out to ehc@lighthouse-sf.org.

Speaking of camp, we just learned how one camp supporter raised some funds…in a hurry.

We’re Thanking You for Your Support of EHC with a Holiday Concert

We’re Thanking You for Your Support of EHC with a Holiday Concert

We were able to raise a record $112,000 for our Giving Tuesday campaign, thanks to your generosity. We’ll use the funds to purchase a John Deere tractor to help with fire abatement at Enchanted Hills Camp and provide camperships for 50 kids in 2021.

For the first time, friends and supporters of Enchanted Hills Camp want to show their appreciation to all donors by holding an online EHC Alumni holiday concert taking place on December 11. Musicians who have attended camp sessions, music camp or been a camp counselor or volunteer will join LightHouse and EHC staffers to celebrate the spirit of EHC past, present and future.

Camp Director Tony Fletcher is excited about this event. “This concert is about giving thanks to the community that keeps the spirit of EHC alive.”

What: Enchanted Hills Camp Alumni Holiday Concert
When: Friday, December 11 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Where: Online, on the Enchanted Hills Camp Facebook page

If you have questions about the concert contact EHC@lighthouse-sf.org.

Thank You for Supporting Us on Giving Tuesday

Thank You for Supporting Us on Giving Tuesday

Hooray! Well done! Thanks to the unwavering support of our generous donors, staff and Board members, we raised over $110,000 and exceeded our goal on Giving Tuesday.

 The Giving Tuesday thermometer above shows $112,657. This is 112% of the goal reached.

Thank you for joining the #GivingTuesday movement to help protect Enchanted Hills Camp. Funds raised this year will purchase a much-needed tractor for Enchanted Hills and send 50 kids to Camp next year.

We are grateful for your connection and commitment.

Photo of Green John Dear tractor moving cut trees

Thank you to the over 150 people who contributed to our Giving Tuesday campaign 2020! You enabled us to buy a tractor for Enchanted Hills to reduce fire hazards and send 50 blind kids to camp. What a tremendous outpour of support for our community.

Special thanks to:

Jennison Asuncion
Janette Barrios
Marilyn Brown
Jennifer and Ken Bunt
Sandy Cademartori
Lisa Carvalho and David Mager
Johnny Dadlani
Michael and Leslye Dellar
Chris and Rosa Downey
Engineering350
Nancy Foss
Jonathan Funk
The Herbst Foundation
Humanware
Drew Kebbel
Tony Keyser
Jerry Kuns
Barbara Lassen
Eric and Jaclyne Mah
John and Cindy McGaffey
Jane Micks
Geoffrey Murray
Michael Nunez
Luciana Profaca
Sharon & Richard Sacks
Kurt Scheidt
Michelle Touw
Walter E & Barbara A Bauke Foundation

Donate to Enchanted Hills Camp

Award winning singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn closes EHC “Give Back” Concert Series, 8/14

Award winning singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn closes EHC “Give Back” Concert Series, 8/14

To celebrate Enchanted Hills Camp 70th anniversary, talented musicians, both blind and sighted, have been singing and playing their hearts out on Facebook Live in the “Give Back” concert series. This groundbreaking season of performances has been helping us raise money for Chimehenge, an interactive community musical instrument of epic proportions that will be played by future campers.

For our final concert, singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn will take center stage. Bruce made his first album 1970 and has released 33 albums to date. His music styles range from folk, to jazz, rock and worldbeat. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area and is a human rights and environmental activist. EHC Director Tony Fletcher sat down with Bruce for an exclusive Q & A session.

Q. When did you first hear about Enchanted Hills Camp?

A. I first heard about EHC when I met Bill Simpson [longtime EHC nurse], at Peet’s Coffee. There was a gang of mostly older people who would sit around in front and drink coffee. I joined that group and he came by and said hello to quite a few of the patrons. A couple of days later, I was sitting out in front of Peet’s again and Bill was there drinking his coffee and I invited him over to join me at my table. We realized we had a lot in common and he talked to me about how he spent his summers at EHC.

Q. Have you attended residential camp yourself?

A. Yes. The one that had the biggest impact for me was the Taylor Statten Camps in Canada. Those camps date back to the 1920s. I spent several summers there and learned an appreciation of nature.  There were four-week wilderness camps, including two weeks on a canoe trip in Ottawa. It was wonderful for my life skills development.

Q. Why do you think it’s valuable for people to attend camp?

A. One of the greatest things is being out from under the roofs of your parents. You’re obliged to discover things about yourself and you learn how to be a good citizen in an unusual setting. Everyone learns to pull their weight. It’s part of learning to be (part of) a team. At camp, there are activities that are different from what you would learn from school. You learn skills: to sail, ride a horse, improve your swimming.

Q. How did your passion for music develop? 

A. I was Interested in music from an early age. I started taking music lessons in fifth or sixth grade and played clarinet and trumpet for three years. I liked those but fell for early rock and roll at the age of 14.  I found an old guitar in the attic at my grandmother’s and banged away at it without much success, but my parents saw the value in it and signed me up for guitar lessons.

Q. What practical tips do you have for young musicians pursuing music as a career?

A. That’s hard to answer in a meaningful way. Things have changed so much. The business has changed so much but recording a YouTube video and getting your music watched on social media is one way to get started. I suggest that you learn everything you can from everybody you can. The more you know, the more you can use.

You can watch the concert Friday, August 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at: facebook.com/lighthousesf/live.

Learn more about Bruce at brucecockburn.com or on Facebook, Spotify or Apple Music.

Want to join Bruce in supporting EHC? Celebrate our 70th anniversary with your limited edition EHC hoodie or make a donation today.

Reflections from Chancey Fleet, LightHouse’s newest board member, on recent Board Retreat at EHC

Reflections from Chancey Fleet, LightHouse’s newest board member, on recent Board Retreat at EHC

A few weeks ago, the LightHouse Board of Directors held its annual retreat at Enchanted Hills Camp, atop Mount Veeder in Napa. Although I had visited the camp before to take part in a Tactile Arts and Graphics Symposium, this was my first opportunity to visit as a board member, and my first since the devastating fires that swept Mount Veeder in 2017.

Enchanted Hills offers its visitors a chance to disconnect from the chaos of city life, appreciate the peace and rich complexity of the natural world, and focus on fellowship, skill-building and discovery. As they arrive at EHC’s dining hall, visitors find comfortable couches flanking a blazing fireplace, where they might chase away the winter chill with a cup of tea and a leisurely conversation. The kitchen staff who are all blind, provide a warm welcome along with meals that are memorable for the vibrant flavors of locally grown produce and freshly baked bread. The dining hall also features a detailed map of EHC with tactile structures, pathways and labels, so that all people, whether sighted or blind, can refer to it as they learn to feel at home.

Although the dining hall is just as I remembered from my last visit, EHC’s landscape bears reminders of the 2017 wildfires. Some buildings are gone, along with swaths of trees and greenery. Some trees still stand strong and growing, though their bark is singed. The legacy of the fire is a testament to the adaptability of nature and the resilience of the LightHouse staff and community. Already, new platform tent bungalows (simple, clean and filled with light) have been built to replace lost housing. New growth is everywhere: willow trees, quick to grow tall, are already taller than most campers just two years after planting. The camp’s soundscape is peaceful but dynamic: I heard wind through the old trees and the new, innumerable birds, purposeful footsteps and laughter, and the sound of a shovel turning earth as one more willow prepared to take root.

I remembered well the redwood benches in EHC’s amphitheater, each constructed by blind master carpenters and engraved with bold tactile motifs drawn from Napa’s local flora. These benches now hold the names of community members who contributed to EHC’s recovery effort and helped the camp weather its losses without missing even one summer of camp programs. When campers enter the Redwood Grove (whose name is boldly carved in foot-high letters on a redwood’s stump), they will always sit with the legacy of those who ensured that music will ring out in that place for decades yet to come.

Enchanted Hills Camp is a place where everyone, whether blind, sighted or somewhere in between, can build confidence and a sense of belonging while taking on new adventures. As our board screened a retrospective of film shorts captured throughout the camp’s history, we saw generations of kids, families and adults enjoying camp traditions like hiking, swimming, horseback riding and canoeing that still go on today. It’s exciting to be part of the EHC community at a time when the camp is offering even more: sessions for blind artists, musicians and woodworkers, in order to expand the camp’s fundamental mission of fostering community and helping campers explore new challenges with confident blind mentors.

To experience the majesty that is Enchanted Hills Camp and Retreat for yourself, why not sign up for a session this summer by exploring the variety of offerings on our camp website? Or plan your own group retreat by visiting our retreat website? Then, stay tuned for details to come about our 70th anniversary of EHC celebration this August 2020.

A LightHouse Staffer on Re-Visioning Enchanted Hills Camp

A LightHouse Staffer on Re-Visioning Enchanted Hills Camp

LightHouse staffer Erin Horne reflects on Enchanted Hills’ legacy and provides an update from camp.

Over the past couple of years, much of the West Coast has been ravaged by wildfires. Many have lost their lives or their livelihoods. Unfortunately, our beloved Enchanted Hills Camp did not escape the flames. But since the fires, the LightHouse has committed to build back camp better and stronger than ever.

In the weeks, months and years to follow, so many of our friends, community members and large companies which support LightHouse for the Blind and Enchanted Hills Camp have continued to lend their support. LightHouse has been lucky to have so many individuals and groups put out their hand to help us off the ground and rebuild. In addition to countless individuals, people from AmeriCorps, Volkswagen America, The Kiwanis Club of Greater Napa, XL Construction, Rotary Club of Napa and so many others have donated their time and dollars. Rotary Club of Napa’s annual Cycle for Sight bike ride and food and wine festival has continued to support Enchanted Hills. Donations large and small continue to roll in as a reminder that EHC is always in the hearts of many around the world. Any dollar amount of donation is as important as the gesture, which can be made at our website.

Founded in 1950 by Rose Resnick, Enchanted Hills was the first camp of its kind on the West Coast, to fill a void as there was not one recreational facility for blind children to explore, thrive and gain confidence. Owned and managed by the LightHouse, Enchanted Hills retains much of its original character while we make structural improvements to the layout and design of Camp.

Since 2017, our staff has begun working with a team of architects to re-envision Enchanted Hills Camp for the next 70 plus years. How can we preserve the legacy of what EHC has been while also preparing for future generations? What can we dream up for this space for people who are blind to explore their freedom and ambitions? Even though the fires were a tragedy, how can we turn it around as an opportunity? As this planning with architects will continue over the coming years, rebuilding has been happening ever since the firefighters approved re-entry on Mount Veeder after the fires were out in the fall of 2017. Our crews put blood, sweat and tears into ensuring that camp sessions could run in the summer of 2018. Even though we were short ten cabins and other facilities, returning campers hardly noticed; the joyful spirit of a typical summer at camp remained.

Between the summer session of 2018 and 2019, even more crews came to give their time and heart to continue bringing Enchanted Hills back to its shining glory. Thanks to the staff at EHC and LightHouse Headquarters, we have an almost endless rotation of volunteer groups who want to come smell the fresh air of the redwoods and dig in to get dirty for the sake of so many campers whose lives will be changed.

By the time our first summer session of 2019 starts on June 9, we will see a new shade structure by the pool and storage barn complete. The poolside shade structure will surely be a relief to our campers who enjoy the wide variety of outdoor activities all summer long. Having a storage barn will allow our staff to finally have an office again, and provide necessary storage. This summer, Enchanted Hills will be able to offer nine sessions for blind and low vision youth and adults focused on all different areas from two sessions of Family Camp to Woodworking.

Stay tuned as our beloved camp continues to grow over the coming years. Updates on the architectural progress will be forthcoming and there will be countless ways for everyone who has a place in their heart for EHC to participate in its future. Together, we will continue to rise from the ashes because, as we all know, EHC is the place to be!