S.E.E. Adventure Camp

2021 camp for students in grades 8-12 who are blind or visually impaired.

SEE camp rafters give the "Paddles Up" signal

Where:  Nantahala Gorge, near Bryson City, North Carolina

When:  Sunday, July 25, 2021 through Thursday, July 29, 2021

What: An overnight outdoor adventure camp for kids who are blind or have a significant visual impairment, and who are ready to stretch their legs and hit the trail.  We plan to hike, raft, climb, swim, and zip in and around the Nantahala Gorge in Western North Carolina.  We’ll stay in the Group Lodge at Wildwater Nantahala, and spend some time at the Nantahala Outdoor Center too.

Who:  Camp instructors include certified Teachers for the Visually Impaired and Orientation & Mobility Specialists, along with a few other adventurous souls, both blind and sighted.

Cost:  FreeS.E.E. Adventure Camp is supported by the IFB Solutions.  All food, activities, and lodging are provided free of charge to campers. There are only 18 spaces available for the 2021 camp.

Our camps are free to families, but not free to operate. To donate to IFB Solutions in support of S.E.E. camps, visit ifbsolutions.org/donate. Thank you!

Contact:  For eligibility guidelines or more information, contact Jay Hardwig at 828-667-9778 x5802 or jhardwig@ifbsolutions.org.

 

Further Details…

What is it? S.E.E. Adventure Camp is a four-night, five-day outdoor adventure camp for blind youth.  We will work with two outfitters near Bryson City, North Carolina: the Nantahala Outdoor Center and Wildwater Nantahala.  The NOC and Wildwater have been industry leaders since 1971, providing guided outdoor adventures to visitors from around the globe.

What will we do?  We plan to hike the local trails, scale a climbing tower, complete a zipline canopy tour, take a dip in Lake Fontana, and of course raft the famous Nantahala River.  All trips will be guided by NOC and Wildwater professionals, with assistance from Certified Teachers for the Visually Impaired.

Where will we stay?  We’ll have bunkhouse lodging at Wildwater Nantahala, with separate rooms for boys and girls.  Camp counselors will sleep in the bunkhouses to provide 24-hour supervision.

What will we eat?  Food will be provided by our outfitters, with cafeteria-style service and an on-site dining room.

How do I get there?  Asheville, North Carolina, is the hub for travel in and out of Western North Carolina.  The Nantahala Gorge is about an hour from Asheville.  If you can get to Asheville—by car, bus, or plane—we’ll get you to camp.  Or you can meet us there!

What is the camper/staff ratio?  S.E.E. Adventure Camp will have eighteen campers and nine highly-trained counselors.  Camp staff will include both blind and sighted adults, and we will be assisted by NOC and Wildwater staff on our adventures.  The Camp Director is Jay Hardwig (MA, COMS, NBCT), a board-certified teacher for the visually impaired and O&M specialist with 20+ years of experience.

What about COVID?  Camper safety is our highest priority.  We will operate in accordance with residential camp guidance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.  Full COVID protocols are still being developed, and will be sent to camp families prior to arrival.

Who are you guys again?  The Student Enrichment Experience (S.E.E.) program is supported by IFB Solutions Foundation.  2021 marks the 16th year of S.E.E. summer camps for the blind and visually impaired in Asheville and Winston-Salem, and the 7th year of our Outdoor Adventure Camp.

 

Eligibility Guidelines

Who can come?  S.E.E. Adventure Camp is open to rising 8-12th graders who are blind or visually impaired.  Preference is given to campers who have severe visual impairments, including total blindness, but there will be spots available for low vision campers as well.   A screening interview with our staff will help us determine whether you are the right fit for camp.

What else are you looking for in campers?  The number one requirement is the right attitude:  prospective campers should be active, engaged, and open to new experiences. You do not need to have back-country experience, but you should be ready to get some…. Here are some other guidelines for eligibility:

  • Campers should be mostly independent. We can help with orientation, medication, or gnarly knots in your bootlaces, but campers should be able to handle most aspects of self-care independently.
  • Campers should be able to travel independently, with minimal mobility limitations. This is an active camp, and we will be on our feet and off the pavement quite a bit.
  • Campers should possess verbal communication skills appropriate to their age.
  • Campers should not have behaviors that impede the learning of others. We are not able to accommodate campers who are aggressive, defiant, violent, or present a flight risk.
  • While we will provide 24-hour supervision and emergency care as needed, we are not able to provide 24-hour nursing care to campers with significant medical needs. Please feel free to call or email Jay Hardwig at 828-667-9778 x5802 or jhardwig@ifbsolutions.org with any questions about eligibility.

 

Registration Procedure

How Do I Apply?  The first step is to indicate your interest.  The best way to do this is to call or email Camp Director Jay Hardwig directly, at 828-667-9778 x5802 or jhardwig@ifbsolutions.org.  Jay will take your name and basic information, which will reserve your spot in camp during the eligibility screening.

Then What?  The next step is the eligibility screening.  This will consist of up to three short phone interviews:  one with the prospective camper, one with a parent or guardian, and one with an educator (ideally a TVI or O&M instructor).  The purpose of these screening interviews is for everyone to get to know each other and ask questions, to ensure that we make a good match and that everyone knows what to expect.  Eligible campers will then be invited to officially register for camp online, using our CampDoc portal.

Registration opens on April 12 and closes on May 15, 2021, or sooner if the camp slots fill up.

For information about our other camps, including S.E.E. Camp H20 and summer day camps in Asheville and Winston-Salem, visit our camps page here or drop me a line:

Jay Hardwig

Program Manager, IFB Solutions

828-667-9778 x5802

jhardwig@ifbsolutions.org

A SEE camper prepares to zipline

A SEE Camper on a hiking trail

A SEE Camper proud after completing the climbing tower

A SEE camper prepares to zip from a covered platform