Summer camp offered for sight-impaired children

Saturday, June 28th 2008, 6:13 pm
By: News 9

By Christian Price, INsite Team

Laquana Sango makes pottery, swims and practices archery all without looking.

Sango is one of the visually-impaired campers at the annual Oklahomans Without Limits summer camp. The event hosted by the Oklahoma League for the Blind pairs sight-impaired children with children who can see to give the children a chance to experience summer camps.

 "I don't get the chance to socialize with anybody because I don't have many friends here at Oklahoma City," Sango said. "At camp, I have a whole bunch of friends. You're able to interact with people that's your own age and you'll be able to learn about them and vise-a-versa."

Seven years ago, the idea for the camp came to Lauren White, president of Oklahoma League for the Blind.

"I had worked a little bit with the children and their parents and just thought, ‘These kids, some of them just really aren't doing much,'" White said. "Wouldn't it be fun if we could put something together at no cost for the children to attend?"

The sighted children learn from the blind children, as do parents of the impaired children, White said.

"Part of this camp is also teaching the parents and allowing then to let go," White said. "In trying to protect them, and create a safe environment, sometimes the parents really create an environment that the child is never allowed to develop those skills to be independent and to grow and to experience."

Camp participants get to do traditional camp activities from swimming to pottery. There also is a dance and talent show.

Tanya Stewart, a rehabilitation instructor at the camp and who is blind herself, said archery is a camp favorite.

"The coolest thing that most of the kids like is archery," Stewart said. "They get to shoot at targets, and they put balloons up on them so that the blind kids know when they hit them."

Camp info

  • Aug. 8-12
  • For children ages 9-18
  • Central Christian Camp and Conference Center in Guthrie.
  • For more information call (405) 232-4644 or visit the Oklahoma League for the Blind's Web site.

Stewart said she hopes the camp is a confidence booster for the children.

"Our goal is to really empower them to just be a natural human being, to understand that every single person has a limitation, rather it's something that's obvious, or something hidden," Stewart said.

"Not everybody's good at math. Not everybody's good at English, but they still live a life that's full and that brings them happiness. When we leave camp, we want everyone to know that they're absolutely entitled to the freedom to live."