Camp Abilities: Unlocking potential through sports
It was a radical idea in the summer of 1996 when Dr. Lauren Lieberman created a week-long educational sports camp in Brockport, NY, for children who are visually impaired, blind or deafblind.
To many people, blindness means “disability,” an excuse to exclude children from sports. Lauren believes in their abilities, as reflected in the name Camp Abilities and exemplified throughout the week through sports and recreation such as baseball, gymnastics, swimming, goalball, tandem biking, running and kayaking.
Camp Abilities is not just your average sports camp. Every year, the 28 (and growing) camps all over the world provide one-on-one instruction to hundreds of campers and train even more counselors to teach children with visual impairments. Most importantly, the children are taught to advocate for themselves so they can compete in sports with their sighted peers when they return home.
The model has spread to more than 19 states and nine countries. Over the last 22 years, the camps have served more than 4,000 campers with support from an additional 4,000 counselors. Lauren's goal is to have a camp in every state and continue global growth.
At Camp Abilities the message is clear: Every child has the ability to achieve.
At Camp Abilities, children and instructors learn three important lessons:
- The benefits of sports go far beyond physical fitness.
- Children who are blind or visually impaired can excel.
- The best advocate for a child is the child himself.