SEE Adventure Camp

For students in grades 8-12 who are blind or visually impaired

Where:  Nantahala Gorge, near Bryson City, North Carolina

When:  Sunday, July 28, through Thursday, August 1, 2019

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:  FREE.  SEE Adventure Camp is possible because of grants, sponsorships and the generosity of multiple caring individuals and companies as well as IFB Solutions.  All food, activities, and lodging are provided free of charge to campers.  There are only 18 spaces available for the 2019 camp.

Contact:  For eligibility guidelines or more information, contact Jay Hardwig at 828-335-1136 or jhardwig@ifbsolutions.org.

or 828-335-1136.

 

Further Details…

What is it?  SEE 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 zip line canopy tour, take a dip in Lake Fontana, and of course raft the famous Nantahala River.  All trips will be guided by NOC 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, Winston-Salem, or Raleigh—by car, bus, or plane—we’ll get you to camp.  Or you can meet us there!

What is the camper/staff ratio?  SEE 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 in the field.

Is this the same as SEE Camp Abilities H20?  Nope. SEE Camp Abilities H20 will be held from June 23-28 at Camp Dogwood in Sherrills Ford, NC.  At that camp, we’ll swim, row, fish, kayak, paddleboard, and more.  For more information about SEE Camp Abilities H20, contact Chris Flynt at cflynt@ifbsolutions.org or (336) 473-2170.

Who are you guys again?  The Student Enrichment Experience (SEE) program is supported by the IFB Solutions Foundation.  2018 marks the 13th year of SEE summer camps for the blind and visually impaired in Asheville and Winston-Salem, and the fifth year of our Outdoor Adventure Camp.

 

Eligibility Guidelines

Who can come?  SEE 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 backcountry 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 828-335-1136 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 828-335-1136 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.

Registration opens on January 15 and closes on April 30, 2019, or sooner if the camp slots fill up.

Questions?  Concerns?  Ideas?  Contact Jay Hardwig at 828-335-1136 or jhardwig@ifbsolutions.org.

 

Want to know more about SEE Day Camps for students K-12 who are blind or visually impaired?  These fabulous camps serve a broader range of kids, with a broader range of visual impairments.  SEE camps provide a mix of education, enrichment, and recreation.  We use certified teachers for the visually impaired to teach independent living skills and to reinforce academic progress.  We provide instruction in cooking, cleaning, and personal organization, as well as teaching blind-specific skills including braille, assistive technology, and orientation and mobility.

In Winston-Salem, SEE Day Camp will run on weekdays from July 8 – July 25 this year.  For more information, contact Kim Flanagan at kflanagan@ifbsolutions.org or (336) 245-5669.

In Asheville, SEE Day Camp will run from June 17 – June 27 this year.  For more information, contact Jay Hardwig at jhardwig@ifbsolutions.org or 828-335-1136.

Girl rock-climbing.