By Annalisa DiLeonardo, Assistant Director, Enchanted Hills Camp
I’ve been attending Enchanted Hills Camp for nine summers now, seven as part of the staff. I have low vision, but prior to my first summer attending EHC, I’d never really met another person with low vision, except one gentleman in high school.
I owe a lot to EHC for making me into who I am today. In the sighted community I sometimes feel like a fish out of water. At Enchanted Hills I’m with people just like me. Everyone deals with the same challenges and we can share our stories, tips and tricks. We don’t have to worry about what people think of us.
Each summer, I make a point of taking a step back mentally when we all gather at the campfire together. This year I did my thinking during the dance competition campers have come to enjoy every year. While I could sing many praises to EHC and take many pages to tell you about the great things there, what really blows my mind is how we all come from so many different walks of life but are connected at camp through this one special thing – our blindness. For example, at this year’s Teen Camp session, campers and staff came from parts of the world as diverse as Australia, China and Poland, plus all over the USA. It was so amazing to see the dining hall filled with at least 100 people who are all immersed in the world of blindness in their own special way.
Yes, there are cultural differences between us, but that doesn’t matter at EHC. Language barriers don’t seem to matter either – we all come together to enjoy each other and the wonderful activities camp has to offer. We all “get” each other. This is truly the best part about Enchanted Hills Camp.
Enchanted Hills Camp and Retreat serves blind children, teens, adults, deaf-blind, seniors, as well as families of the blind.
Since 1950, Enchanted Hills has provided valuable opportunities for recreation in a fun, challenging and accessible way. Located on 311 acres on scenic Mt. Veeder, Enchanted Hills is just 10 miles west of Napa, California.
The experience of summer camp holds countless opportunities for enjoyment and learning in many a young person’s life. Whether it’s exploring a trail in the woods or creating a skit as a team to perform in front of an audience, camp provides a wealth of structured and unrestricted moments that contribute to childhood socialization, growth and development.
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 benefitting from constant structural improvements.
Year-round, we hold our flagship blindness skills immersion training “Changing Vision, Changing Lives” at camp in addition to offering one-off classes for blind individuals of all ages and levels of sight. In the warm months, Enchanted Hills is constantly abuzz with classes, retreats and educational academies for blind, deaf-blind, and those with low vision or multiple disabilities. This includes a blind chemistry camp, music academy, horse camp, a national woodworkers meeting, deaf-blind camp, specialty small woodworking lessons, and programs for blind babies and their families. We also host corporate gatherings, fellow nonprofits, and other civic organizations on a regular basis.
Founded in 1950 by Rose Resnick, Enchanted Hills was the first camp of its kind on the West Coast. Enchanted Hills provides valuable opportunities for recreation in a fun, challenging and accessible way. Located on 311 acres on scenic Mt. Veeder, Enchanted Hills is just 10 miles west of Napa, California. Enchanted Hills Camp serves blind children, teens, adults and families.
Youth Employment Services (YES) Summer Academy
YES Summer Academy is an opportunity for blind transition-age youth to gain vocational skills and learn through interactive activities. YES helps blind youth and young adults successfully transition to college and prepare for employment.
Teen campers make friends with blind peers and participate in quintessential summer camp activities including campfires, swimming, horseback riding, theater, arts and crafts and adaptive sports. Campers also hone their blindness skills like using a white cane and reading braille.
STEM Camp provides blind youth with hands-on, interactive and fun activities focused on science, technology, engineering and math.
Music Camp and Concert
Blind high school and college-age musicians hone musical skills like improvisation, composition and performance. The capstone of this camp is a summer concert for the extended camp community.
Sensing the Seasons
Sensing the Seasons is a year-round STEM program that provides accessible environmental science education to blind teens. One weekend each season, a cohort of blind students explore the outdoors through observation, experiments, environmental stewardship, group discussions and recreation.
Family Camp is designed for families with blind children ages 17 and under, and blind parents with children ages 17 and under. In addition to quintessential camp activities, this camp offers parent discussion groups and evening activities such as the family talent show.
Little Learners Camp
Specifically for blind babies, young children and their families, this camp offers opportunities to bond with other families and learn about programs and resources to support their children.
Deaf-blind Camp is for adults 18 years and older with both some visual impairment and deafness. One of the great attractions of the session is the free flow of communication using American Sign Language, tactile sign language, spoken English and amplified sound.
Designed for active adults 21 years and older who are blind or visually impaired, adult campers enjoy quintessential camp activities as well as nighttime programs such as dancing to live music, casino night and a talent show.
Adults with Developmental Disability Session
This session provides opportunities for adult campers with developmental disabilities to explore the outdoors, meet peers and mentors, try new things, and increase skills and confidence. A 2:1 camper to counselor ratio ensures that campers get individualized attention and their access needs are met.
Changing Vision, Changing Life (CVCL)
CVCL is an immersive introduction to blindness for adults who are newly blind or have experienced a change in vision. The program introduces basic and essential skills for independence, including magnification, organizational skills, time management, use of adaptive aids and accessing print materials.
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