The New York Institute For Special Education

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These Are Our Children (1957) » The Value of Camping to the Blind

The Value of Camping to the Blind


CAMP Wapanacki has long since become a permanent part of the Institute's service to blind children. It is a mountain-lake camp nestling in the heart of the Green Mountains at Hardwick, Vermont, some 350 miles from New York City.

It was established to provide active and healthful summer vacations for blind children and to widen their educational and recreational opportunities.

Most of the campers come from urban communities whose playground and recreational facilities are not designed for blind children. The blind child, limited in his ability to take part in neighborhood sports and social activities, has few playmates and consequently must spend many idle summer hours indoors.

A camp such as Camp Wapanacki, offering without charge, a well-planned and supervised summer program for blind children is the answer to these problems.

The camping program includes swimming, boating and fishing in their own lake, hiking and tenting in the woods nearby-the inevitable camp fire with its stories and stunts and all the other activities of camp life. Blind children happy at play thrilling to the joys of camping is a wonderful experience.

These children, more than children with sight, need the fresh air, sunshine and companionship of a summer camp-a chance to swim, to fish, to ride a pony, to hike and to tent out in the woods. To do all these things has become a tradition and a right of childhood. To blind children this means more than summertime of happiness; it is a new way of life, a communion with nature that they cannot find in books of Braille or on crowded city streets.

Although the emphasis is on out-of-doors and body-building activities, there are many projects designed to supplement and to give fuller meaning to classroom education. For example, the farming and agricultural projects, which a rural environment makes possible, provide a new source and method of learning and appreciation for blind children.