Camp For Children With Vision Loss Offers Oklahoma Kids A Summer To Remember

A special camp for children living with vision loss is giving some Oklahoma kids a summer to remember.

Friday, June 16th 2023, 8:18 am



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A special camp for children living with vision loss is giving some Oklahoma kids a summer to remember.

NewView Oklahoma's Camp Owl at Lake Tenkiller is a summer camp that helps prove anything is possible for middle and high schoolers who are blind or living with low vision. "owl" is short for Oklahomans Without Limits.

"So many of these kids find themselves in situations where they're told the things they can't do, and we want to do the opposite. We want to show them -- it might look a little different and we might have to make some adaptations here and there, but there's nothing you can't do," said NewView Oklahoma Marking and Communications Vice President Ashely Howard.

NewView works with Oklahomans of all ages year-round, empowering those who are blind or have low vision to live independently.

But camp week is all about the kids and trying new things, like water skiing. The kids ease into it by holding on to a boom pole on the side of the boat first, then move on to the rope when they're ready for more of a challenge.

"You've got to use your leg muscles to stay balanced and then you have to use your arm muscles to have the grip," said 14-year-old Lily McDonald from Wagoner.

Lily McDonald was a natural, after just a few hours she was water skiing like a pro.

Up on the dock 14-year-old Kilee Nichols from Moore was on a quest to catch her first fish... a mission she accomplished all on her own when she reeled in a bass.

"You can literally see the confidence unfolding when these kiddos get to accomplish a new skill or do something they didn't think they could do," said Howard. "It's just pure joy on their face, you just see them light up and it's a really cool experience."

Kids look forward to camp week all year long, like 18-year-old Caleb Crase, whose favorite part is the fishing.

"It's just peaceful," said Crase.

This was his 10th and final year as a camper. And this summer, he'll also serve as a counselor for a younger group. His goal is to give a "new view" to others like him, so they know they're not alone.

"NewView is a really good organization and has helped me through a lot, so it only feels right to give back, so that's what I'm trying to do," Crase said.

NewView has clinics in Tulsa and Oklahoma and also hosts a Camp Owl in Oklahoma City. 

The summer camps are free for any child who is blind or living with vision loss, thanks to generous donors and volunteers. This summer's camps are booked, but NewView Oklahoma will start planning for next summer soon. You can learn more by Clicking Here.

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