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Enchanted Hill Camp

EHC Camp Counselor, Hannah, Shares Her Summer Highlights

EHC Camp Counselor, Hannah, Shares Her Summer Highlights

Enchanted Hills Camp counselor, Hannah, holds camper Martie’s hand while counselor Alena sits behind them at EHC Family Camp summer 2022

By Hannah Clemenson, Enchanted Hills Camp Counselor
 
Editor’s Note: Since its opening in 1950, Enchanted Hills Camp has been a home away from home for generations of campers. Nestled in a forest of majestic redwoods, EHC is a place where blind, low vision, Deafblind, and disabled campers can learn, grow, and explore the world around them in an inclusive, friendly, and encouraging environment.
 
This past summer, first-time EHC counselor Hannah Clemenson, had the opportunity to be part of this special community and shared her wonderful experience with LightHouse.
 
The first time I went to Enchanted Hills Camp was when I was 17. I was only there for three days as part of a visiting group, I didn’t really get to interact with the camp much as Enchanted Hills, it was just kind of a venue. But I already loved it! I loved the quiet and got the feeling that it was a really welcoming environment. I knew I wanted to go back. I live in the Bay Area now and am a student at the University of San Francisco, and I read the weekly LightHouse newsletter. When I saw they were looking for workers this summer at EHC, I thought, “Oh cool! Maybe I’ll do that!” I reached out to [camp director] Tony Fletcher, and in April I got the confirmation that I would be working at EHC this summer. I was so excited!
 
When I first got there it was a little nerve-wracking. Most of the camp staff had been going there for four, five, and some, even seven and eight years already. Everyone was very familiar and running around the camp, and I thought, “This is really new to me.” Everyone already knew each other, some even went to high school together, and they would talk about memories and stories from the past. I thought, “Oh, I’ll never fit in here.” But by the second day of Staff Week, I was already hanging out with people, talking a lot, and opening up more quickly than I normally do. We continued to bond, and by the end of Staff Week I’d already known I had made some really close friends, and that only continued throughout the rest of the summer.
 
Working with the Adults with Developmental Disabilities was really great. I was assigned to a cabin with a camper who is non-verbal, and other campers with severe organizational and mobility challenges. I had never previously worked with members of this population before, but it was so, so fun once I got the hang of it! It was a very humanizing experience working with people so different from me. I loved making coffee for everyone in the morning. The wide array of conversations you can have with people at this session was wild! The scope of human experience there is so awe-inspiring. Even though we were all on different wavelengths, we were all visually impaired and dealing with that. I can connect with them on the blindness level and learn so much from their unique thought processes. The non-verbal camper I worked with could only very marginally communicate with other people, but once she sat behind the piano she was playing and smiling and singing every lyric perfectly. It was amazing! She and I bonded over music because I am a musician, too. If she was ever feeling stressed, I would start to sing to her, and she would sing with me, and it would calm her down.
 
I also really loved Family Camp. I liked talking to the parents, especially the ones who were concerned about how their blind child would experience life in the future and what high school and college will be like for them. I was able to share my own experiences and the kids would tell us theirs. It felt so good to really celebrate the kids. We’re all blind and we all deal with it differently, but we’re also all here at EHC, honoring and celebrating our blindness. It felt really good to share that experience with these families

Register for the EHC Leadership and Counselor in Training Program

Register for the EHC Leadership and Counselor in Training Program

The Enchanted Hills Camp (EHC) Summer Leadership Summit focuses on developing leaders who are blind or have low vision in an immersive training environment through soft-skills development and exploration of careers. Participants will gain a better understanding of how to be an effective self-advocate and develop social and independent living skills that will prepare them for transition and post-secondary education program options. Training takes place through discussion, role modeling, and practice under the supervision of experienced LightHouse and EHC staff.
 
The program will start with a week of training where participants will take part in job site readiness exercises that will help participants prepare to become a Counselor-in-Training (CIT) during the summer programs at EHC. In the second week, participants will be assigned to a group of youth campers as a CIT, where participants will apply their new skills learned in the first week of the series with the support and supervision from summer Camp Counselors and experienced camp staff. Throughout the program, CITs will also participate in discussions with leaders from the greater blind community as well as successfully employed blind adults about career opportunities, blindness philosophy, life hacks and many other important topics.

This summit is for teens ages 16 to 18 years old who are blind or have low vision and are serious about improving their leadership skills by learning to work with children in a rigorous camp setting. As part of the program application process, students must complete a student intake form, conduct an interview with program staff and commit to participating fully in the program at EHC. We welcome prospective participants who possess a variety of previous camping experiences or have an interest in exploring the social and recreational work profession to consider applying.
 
Please read the full description, including program objectives, outcomes, and expectations, and learn about costs and how to apply.
 
We are asking prospective participants who are eligible for Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) services to work with their counselors to gain entry to this program.
 
Week 1: June 20 through 24: Leadership Development and Staff Training
Week 2: July 11 through July 16: Counselor in Training Practicum
 
For further information about the Summer Leadership Summit, please don’t hesitate to contact Jamey Gump, Youth Services Coordinator, at JGump@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7372.

Want to Help Make EHC the Place to Be this Summer? Come to the EHC Virtual Career Fair, March 12

Want to Help Make EHC the Place to Be this Summer? Come to the EHC Virtual Career Fair, March 12

Have you ever wanted to work or volunteer at Enchanted Hills Camp (EHC)? Are you looking for a summer job where you can learn new skills, soak up the beauty of Napa hills and make lasting memories? Well EHC is looking for people who are blind, have low vision or are sighted to be staff at EHC  this summer to help our campers grow their own potential.  Come to the virtual EHC Career Fair on March 12 from 10:00 am to noon Pacific to learn more!

Here’s what we’re looking for:

EHC Camp Counselors and Area Leaders: Must be 18 and older
EHC Counselors in Training: Students who are blind or have low vision ages 16 to 18
Youth Employment Services (YES) Academy Students: Students who are blind or have low vision ages 16 to 24

At the career fair, you’ll meet camp hiring managers and current and previous campers and staff. You’ll also find out about the range of activities and experiences EHC has in store. You can potentially get hired on the spot or invited back for an additional interview.

Tony Fletcher, Director of EHC says “The virtual career fair is a wonderful chance for potential candidates to explore opportunities at camp this summer”

Learn more about EHC on the LightHouse website.

What: Enchanted Hills Camp Career Fair
When: Saturday March 12 from 10:00 am to noon Pacific
RSVP: by Thursday, March 10. to  Mario Burton at MBurton@lighthouse-sf.org.

Things are going real “well” at EHC

Things are going real “well” at EHC

Thank you for joining us for the first two Enchanted Hills Camp Give Back concerts of the season! If you missed them, you can watch both on the EHC Facebook page.

Our next concert is taking place on Friday July 16 from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm starring Mariana Sandoval Lintz.

This year our goal is to raise $20,000 for a new well at EHC.

A new well will allow us to be more self-sufficient and less reliant on water from our spring. The well will ensure that we have adequate water for campers without worry and enable us to store and pump water for the driest seasons. In the driest years, the spring has just barely covered our water needs during the busiest camp sessions. One year, alarmingly we had to truck in water. With a drought upon us once more, we sought to remedy this issue by prospecting for a new well. We did it! We struck liquid gold, in the form of H2O. The well production is estimated at 20,000 gallons of water per day which is enough to fill the EHC swimming pool daily.

Situated near the Rec Field, the new well will ensure that we have adequate water for campers. It will also enable us to take on projects never possible before such as leveling the Rec Field and getting rid of the ankle-twisting divots and bumps and irrigating the field for beep baseball, audible soccer and other team sports. Growing fruit trees and vegetable gardens that campers will tend will also be possible.

Great news! The five largest donors to this project will have the special honor of choosing names for EHC’s newest residents, five baby goats! Donate today to help us dig and erect this well, put in the pipes and pumps to carry the water where it is needed.

We are hoping to raise $20,000 to harness this precious natural resource and we need your help. You don’t need a ticket or even a Facebook account to enjoy these concerts, but we do need your support to help us sink this well.

You can also Support the EHC well project by purchasing an EHC tee-shirt. Or text any amount to give for the EHC well project to 415-707-7864.

Singalongs and Smores: EHC to Hold Virtual Kids Camp Starting July 5

Singalongs and Smores: EHC to Hold Virtual Kids Camp Starting July 5

Last week we brought you news about Enchanted Hills Camp’s (EHC’s) Adult Virtual Camp Session. It’s part of the multiple virtual sessions we are offering this summer, some at camp and some virtual, as we build back COVID-safe programs.

Well the good news continues; EHC is also offering a virtual camp session for elementary and middle schoolers!

The fun starts on July 5 and runs through Saturday, July 10 from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm every day. Each day’s activities will be led by staff and counselors-in-training who are blind or have low vision.

But what are some of those activities? They include a virtual campfire, complete with smores, camp songs, music trivia, stories of EHC, origami and an EHC trivia contest.

But, wait you say, what’s this about smores? If you sign your children up for Youth Virtual Camp by Friday, June 25, you will be mailed a Camp Care Package which includes a braille and large print version of camp songs, and EHC wrist band, origami paper and yes, the ingredients to make those tasty smores.

Youth Services Coordinator Jamey Gump can’t wait for camp. “So many of our campers come from all over. I’m excited to welcome them to our youth session virtually where they’ll get the chance to deepen their connections to the EHC community,” he says.

What: Enchanted Hills Camp Youth Virtual Camp Sessions
Who: Elementary & Middle schoolers who are blind or have low vision
When: 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm daily from Monday July 5 through Saturday, July 10
RSVP: Jamey Gump at jgump@lighthouse-sf.org 415- 694-7372

Parents & Guardians: We’d love your help getting your children connected to our virtual program, however once they have joined, we ask that you please give them the space to participate individually.

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