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Enchanted Hill Camp

First in Our Returning EHC Give Back Concert Series

First in Our Returning EHC Give Back Concert Series

Photo Caption: Derek and Shane Dittmar

Last year we brought you the Enchanted Hills Camp (EHC) “Give Back” summer concert series. Throughout the summer months when camp was silent, people from all over took part as best they could and listened online to an incredible array of performers who shared their talents to help support Enchanted Hills Camp. Well, it seems we may have started a new tradition, as the “Give Back” concerts are back, and camp director Tony Fletcher couldn’t be more thrilled.

“We are very pleased to once again offer a summer series of virtual concerts by musicians whose lives have been positively impacted by the programs at Enchanted Hills Camp. Our musicians will be raising funds to help us improve Enchanted Hills camp’s water storage.

“For three generations the camp’s parched recreation field lacked the summertime water to irrigate it and support a lush lawn. The rec field is the largest level sports area in our entire camp. Now we have a plan to develop a well water system which will keep the field green all year round. The pumps, storage tanks, well and other infrastructure costs approximately $25,000. We hope our community can raise that amount by September. Please join us for interviews and great music all summer long.”

The concerts will run every two weeks from June 18 to August 13. Up first on June 18 are brothers Derek and Shane Dittmar who are both blind playing original and cover songs: Derek on guitar and Shane on piano. Derek shared with us why he loves performing to support EHC, to which he feels a deep connection.

“I started as a camper at EHC around 2006. Every summer I couldn’t wait to fly out from Raleigh and spend a week in the mountains with my friends. I learned how to play sports, make music, maintain life-long friendships, and feel confident. EHC felt like home, and I was privileged to work as the Enrichment Area Leader in 2012 and 2013. The camp, its staff, and its energy will always be a part of me.

“EHC is special for a thousand reasons, but chief among them is that it presents the typical summer camp experience to people who don’t normally get that chance. Risk is something not often given to people with disabilities, so to have a place where I could be myself, completely and confidently, meant the world. I could experiment and explore and, when things were unexpected, find a way to redirect and fix them myself.  Staff was always there to help if I wanted, and to make sure that everyone was safe, but it was a chance to live my life on my terms and to learn who I was, both because of and in spite of my blindness.”

Derek started playing the bass guitar when he was eleven, “less because I had a pull towards bass and more because my incredibly talented brother was starting a band and that was the instrument, he didn’t have covered,” he laughs.

Now Derek is a civil defense attorney in Raleigh but playing and listening to music are ways in which he keeps himself grounded.

He’s keeping exactly what he’ll be treating us to on June 18 close to his chest.
“I perform original folk rock/Americana music. I currently plan on doing a few original songs written over the past two or three years, though I may throw a cover in, depending. My influences include Jason Isbell, Jackson Brown, Dawes, and Glen Hansard.”

Derek, we can’t wait!

The first EHC Give Back Concert with Derek and Shane Dittmar is on Friday, June 18 from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm Pacific.

Where: Enchanted Hills Camp Facebook Page. No Facebook account is required and no tickets either. However, your contributions to the green rec field water system will go a long way to improve our rebuilding of camp so people like Derek and Shane continue to test boundaries and take risks there for years to come.

There’s no need to wait for the concert to give back to EHC. Donate via text by texting the amount you wish to give to 415-707-7864.

Support EHC with this Great Shirt. All funds raised will go directly to LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Donate to 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.

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.

Sensing the Seasons, Now for all Ages

Sensing the Seasons, Now for all Ages

Last year, we began offering Sensing the Seasons, a nature study program for LightHouse youth in partnership with the WOLF School Naturalist Academy. Now, Sensing the Seasons is back—virtually—and this time it’s for all ages.

LightHouse Youth Services Coordinator Jamey Gump talks about the origins of the class and how it’s evolved serendipitously into a class for all ages.

“It started from a desire of the community to learn more about the space at Enchanted Hills Camp including the plants, the animals and the land and how those different aspects interact with one another. Last November, it was on the same weekend as Amber [Sherrard’s] Health & Wellness retreat at EHC and there was some overlapping of programming. We noticed that along with the youth, the adult students also wanted to connect with EHC more, specifically around nature and being at camp. So, for our first Zoom-based Sensing the Seasons, we invited all the students who had been up with Amber during the Health and Wellness retreat to the program and we got good participation. We got really good connections between the generations of people going to camp for many years and the high school students who have been going to camp for three to seven years.”

So, how do the Wolf School instructors get students in the right mindset to focus on nature in a virtual space?

“They encourage students to focus on the natural and meditate in their own spaces and go into their backyard or outdoor space if possible,” says Jamey.

What: Sensing the Seasons, during which, participants will learn about how flora and fauna are affected by the onset of fall, learn about recent changes to the space so many of us love and connect with our EHC friends.

When: The class has three sessions over two days: Friday, November 20 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, November 21 from 10:00 a.m. to noon and 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 pm.

RSVP by Wednesday, November 18 to Jamey Gump at youth@lighthouse-sf.org  or
415-694-7372.

A look back at the EHC “Give Back” Concert Series

A look back at the EHC “Give Back” Concert Series

Tony Fletcher – Director of Enchanted Hills Camp

“My thoughts? I am genuinely satisfied with the results of the “Give Back” Concert Series. It felt authentic on so many levels. We captured the spirit of camp in terms of variety, fun and adventure. You just never really knew what would transpire with the live broadcasts. To me it was a combination of enthusiasm and anxiety, which is no different than what we expect from our campers and staff during a regular summer program at EHC. As Hoby Wedler [Sensory Innovation Director at Senspoint Design]. so eloquently stated years ago: ‘EHC is a safe place to be uncomfortable.’ “

Masceo Williams – Enchanted Hills Camp Enrichment Area Leader, who is blind

“For me, being part of a production team and being a performer was, like all things with EHC, giving and taking. It was 50% of giving my knowledge and trying to help and, in turn, 50% getting back information to help me as a performer in the virtual world. Experimenting with the production aspect and learning how to use Zoom and Facebook Live was all new for me. Learning to connect virtually with people from the LightHouse and the musicians was educational. Getting familiar with the technology climaxed really well with both the alumni showcase, which was really wonderful, and then the Bruce Cockburn concert, which was very cool. I learned as much as I hope that I was able to give.”

Mariana Sandoval Lintz – Opera Singer

“Performing for the EHC Virtual Concerts was a pleasure. As a musician, getting a chance to perform even virtually during these times is incredible. EHC is a beautiful place and I was happy to be able to do something to help with the rebuild.”

Cristina Jones – Opera Singer, who is blind

“Taking part in the concert series was a lovely way to substitute the time I was supposed to be spending in August as an EHC Music Camp Director. It gave me the opportunity to share music once again during these strange times, and it gave me the opportunity to work with people I wouldn’t have had the chance to work with otherwise. It goes to show that music definitely brings people together, even if we’re forced to stay apart.”

A huge thank you also goes to all the musicians and to everyone who watched. It’s the first time Lighthouse has used Facebook Live and we had over 15,000 views on the concert series. Thanks to all those who’ve donated so far to help make EHC the place to be.

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.

Virtual room, real musicians: EHC to hold virtual Music Camp

Virtual room, real musicians: EHC to hold virtual Music Camp

Just like other Enchanted Hills Camp Summer 2020 sessions, we’re going virtual with Music Camp, led by longtime EHC Enrichment Area leader Masceo Williams. Masceo is a blind musician with over 20 years of live performance experience.

This is a four-part Zoom series for people who are blind or have low vision with some sort of formal music training. The four sessions will feature interactive discussions, music sharing, brainstorming, games, challenges and music fun all with EHC as inspiration and the backdrop.

You can choose from one of two timeslots. Contact Alyah Thomas at AThomas@lighthouse-sf.org for more info.

Timeslot 1: August 3, 6, 10 & 13 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Timeslot 2: August 3, 6, 10 & 13 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.