Every year, the district governor chooses a project in which he or she would like the district to support and keep in mind throughout the service year. Many service projects that the New York District undertake will be closely related to this project.
This year's Governor's Project is: Voices for the Blind
A loss of sight... NEVER a loss of vision.
Camp Abilities are summer camps for blind children that focus on adapted sports, interaction, and confidence building. Started in Brockport, NY, the number of individually run camps has expanded to four camps in New York and 26 camps in six different nations in total.
A major problem associated with blindness is obesity, and it is largely due to the fact that blind children have a harder time being active and participating in activities with their peers. In fact, the blind are two times more likely to become obese than sighted people.
The camps look to fight that trend as well as instill confidence in children who are shy and reserved. The look on the face of a child who has just taken the leap of faith and learned that yes, he can run the track or yes, he can use the balance beam is incredible. The minor adaptions that can be made to allow the blind to participate make a huge difference in their lives, not only in that they are able to take advantage of a new skill or enjoy a new activity but also in that they are more confident in their abilities outside of that particular activity.
The camps teach blind children adapted sports, like beep baseball, as well as the equipment they can use and steps they can take to bring that activity back home with them. They often become the teachers for their phys ed instructors, showing them how they can be included. And the difference is remarkable.
The confidence the camps build added on top of the interaction with other blind children (which is not often found before attending camp) allow the blind to conquer their disability and engage in society.
There are four camps in New York: the original Camp Abilities at SUNY- Brockport, Camp Abilities Saratoga, held at Skidmore College, Camp Abilities Long Island, held at Adelphi University, and the CABVI Camp Abilities, held in Utica. They are all separate organizations with ties to the original, so donations have to go to one specific camp. For this reason, we have decided to break up the District to allow each region to support a camp that is relatively local. Here is the breakdown:
- Camp Abilities Long Island: Divisions 1-11
- Camp Abilities Saratoga: Divisions 12-18
- CABVI Camp Abilities: Divisions 19, 21, & 24
- Camp Abilities (Brockport): Divisions 20, 22, 23, 25, & 26
We will write one final check at the end of the year to each camp. So, please send checks to District Administrator Mr. Goldstein at 590 Mullock Road, Port Jervis, NY, 12771 made out to "New York District Key Club". The most essential piece is that the checks are labelled in the memo with the following:
"Camp Abilities, Division __"
The blank should, of course be filled with the division from which the check is coming, that way we know to send it to the right place.
Please feel free to ask any questions you may have by reaching out to Governor Matt, and the Governor's Project Committee, or its Chair, Lt. Governor Emily Orengo.
Camp Abilities Video