Future Reflections Winter/Spring 1997, Vol. 16 No. 1


K.I.D.S. Camp Comes To Maryland

[PICTURE] Niki White (above) carefully crafts her leather bookmark.
[PICTURE] Alycia Breitschwerdt and counselor Ellen Waechtler explore the mall during a scavenger hunt.
[PICTURE] Left to right, back to front: counselors Terry Green and Tom Owens. Kevin Hatton, Lauren Sheeder, Melissa Sheeder, Thomas Cole, Jr., Jeremy Lincicone, Nikos Daley, Germial Gardner, Alycia Breitschwerdt, Niki White, and Amy Herstein.

Editor's Note: Reprinted from the September, 1996, issue of the Grapevine a publication by and for the Associates of Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM).

Ten children between the ages of 8 and 11 came to BlSM's KIDS Camp for the week of August 12 through 16 to learn skills of blindness and interact with blind adults (blind volunteers and blind staff members of BISM's Rehabilitation Department made up the majority of the camp staff). KIDS Camp (Kids Independence Development Summer Camp) was sponsored jointly by BlSM's Rehabilitation Department and the National Federation of the Blind's Maryland Parents of Blind Children Division.

The children had many opportunities to work on the skills of cane travel, Braille, and activities of daily living--such as spreading foods (peanut butter, jelly, and cream cheese), pouring juice and milk, using the oven to make pizzas, and making homemade ice cream.

They also kept a daily journal of their favorite activities and bound them into a keepsake book to take home on Friday. Tommy Cole, Jr., son of Baltimore BISM associate Tommy Cole, Sr., attended the program all week. Thanks Tommy for encouraging your son to attend and learn more about blindness.

Monday the children and counselors rode the Maryland Transit Authority #31 bus to the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped where they checked out Braille library books; all bustled back to BISM to prepare their own sandwiches for lunch.

Tuesday the group went to Security Mall for a scavenger hunt where the children had to locate different merchants and obtain an item from each store. They then proceeded to the food court where they purchased their own lunches, handled their own money, counted change, and obtained receipts. They also had to carry their food and beverage on a tray, locate their seating, then cleanup after lunch. Also on Tuesday, they had fun with mallets pounding designs into leather bookmarks brought in by Tandy Leather Company. Tandy also brought many varieties of hides, furs, and skins to identify by touch and smell.

Wednesday it was off to the Baltimore Zoo to ride the camels. A good distance was traveled over bridges, across lily pads, through the rain room (where all got soaked), to Africa and back. From the zoo it was on to the park for a picnic and a romp through the rubber tire playground. All enjoyed the grilled hamburgers complete with fixin's.

Thursday the children made homemade ice cream then hiked to the nearby McDonald's where they again handled their own money to purchase lunch and managed their own trays of food. Back at BISM they made a leather coin purse craft project.

Friday was a whirlwind of activity as children finished their projects, made pizzas for lunch (thereby learning to use the oven), practiced songs, and prepared for their graduation ceremony.

The Olympic theme for the graduation ceremony was "You can be all that you want to be." Children were presented with framed certificates, Olympic gold medals for specific accomplishments, and individual photographs of the week's activities.

Many thanks go out to all the people who helped make this week a huge success for the children: Loretta White, Vice President, Maryland Parents of Blind Children Division, NFB, who worked countless hours to coordinate and direct the week's activities; Kit Bloom, Children's Librarian, Maryland Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH); Estelle Williamson, Friends of the Library, LBPH; Sharon Maneki, President, National Federation of the Blind of Maryland; Nicole Fincham, blind youth Junior Counselor; and Rosemary Lerdahl, Director, Rehabilitation Department, BISM.