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About

Camp Abilities is a developmental sports camp for students who are blind and visually impaired that was started twenty years ago in Brockport, New York. This camp has provided valuable learning experiences to its campers that they would not receive elsewhere. The camp was founded on four main purposes; 1) to teach children who are visually impaired how to access sports and recreation, and empower them to know what modifications to make so that they can do them at home, 2) to teach current and future teacher of physical education, vision or special educations, “how to teach kids with visual impairments,” 3) research pertaining to individuals who are visually impaired- physical fitness, nutrition, parent involvement, inclusion and attitudes, 4) and lastly, respite and support for parents of children who are visually impaired.

A Loss of Sight, Never a Loss of Vision!!!

     After volunteering as a counselor at Camp Abilities Brockport, Jenn was so inspired by the growth she had seen in just one week that she felt compelled to bring Camp Abilities to North Florida. Advertising and gathering information from teachers of the visually impaired, families of children who are visually impaired, and students themselves led to the conclusion that the need and want for a Camp Abilities North Florida was even greater than ever imagined.  She contact Leah about taking on the challenge of making it a reality and Leah accepted! 

     They were able to have our first successful Camp Abilities North Florida last year at Camp Chowenwaw in Green Cove Springs, Florida. Their second year was held June 26th-July 1st at the Montgomery Presbyterian Center in Stark Florida. At this camp, we provide opportunities for students to participate in adaptive sports including; swimming,  beep kickball, kayaking, archery and many more. The campers will have opportunities to rock climb, fish, tandem bike and participate in camping activities such as, campfires and s’mores.  Some of the campers who attended each year experienced many of these activities for the first time. Many of them returned for the second year and are already counting down to next summer! 

 

Testimonials:

If you could think of one word to describe camp, what would your word be?

“Phenomenal” “Camp abilities is allowing blind and visually impaired people to do things that like we would never be allowed to do everyday” – Kai

“Fun” – Emily

“Fun” – Dwayne

 

“Awesome” – Caleb

 

“Fun” – Austin

 

“Incredible” – Sarah

 

“Amazing” – Madison

 

“Fun” – Ryleigh
 

“Extreme“ – Sara

 

“Fun” – Luke

 

“Amazing” – Breanna

 

“Fun” – Max

 

“Awesome”  – Tinisha

 

“Awesome” – Alden

 

“Awesome” – Madison

 

“Fantastic” – Francis

 

“The whole camp was fun.

A great opportunity for the

young kids and a great opportunity for me” – Tyree 

Directors and Specialists:

Jennifer Stelmach, TVI at Duval Schools, Grad Student at WMU for VRT

DIrector

"I'm a teacher for the visually impaired in Nassau County, Florida. I fell in love with Camp Abilities, 4 years ago, after attending the camp in Brockport, New York. I was determined to bring it to Florida.
To me, Camp Abilities means independence and a sense of 'I Can'."

Leah Stearns, TVI at FSDB

Director

"I am a teacher for the visually impaired at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine, FL. In 2015, Jenn asked me to be apart of this wonderful organization by helping her start up a Camp Abilities in Florida. The process of doing so has been life changing. To me, Camp Abilities is family. It means gaining independence, breaking stereotypes and redefining what it means to be visually impaired."

Teresa Buffalino, TVI at FSDB

Activity Coordinator/Group Leader

"To me, Camp Abilities means stepping out of your comfort zone into independence."

Michela Tavolieri, TVI and O&M Specialist

Assistant Director and O&M Specialist

"I am a Teacher for the Visually Impaired and an Orientation and Mobility Instructor in Clay County Florida. The opportunity to be involved with Camp Abilities has been a blessing and honor. To me Camp Abilities means life changing experiences and lasting memories for everyone."

Eileen Bischof, TVI/O&M, FSU Professor

FSU Supervisor and Contact Person

"I LOVE Camp Abilities. It's a wonderful opportunity for campers to gain new experiences (often outside of their perceived comfort zones) in a fun and encouraging environment while meeting new friends."  

Bianca Simon, TVI for Duval County Schools

Activity Coordinator/CIT Specialist

"Camp is an opportunity for laughter and independence."

New People Coming Soon, TBD

Group Leader

"Camp is ......"

New People Coming Soon, TBD

Group Leader

"Camp is ......"

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