“Kids Helping Kids” Offers Pathfinders
a Community Service Opportunity
Project’s aim is to provide means for blind kids to attend summer camp
BY DORIS BURDICK, Christian ?Record Services, writing from Lincoln, Nebraska
It was just a horrible accident. The babysitter was watching me when I was 5 months old. But I rolled off the edge of the bed,” recounts Lakin, a blind camper at one of the National Camps for Blind Children (NCBC) conducted by Christian Record Services for the Blind (CRSB).
The massive head trauma caused unconsciousness. When Lakin awoke a month or so later, she had lost most of her vision forever.
A special source of joy came into her life the summer she was 9 years old. A representative of Christian Record contacted her parents and invited her to come to one of the specialized summer camps that blanket North America. These camps are made available free of charge—not free of cost—because of the generosity of many individuals. For Lakin, the nearest NCBC camp was in her home state of Tennessee.
SO PROUDLY THEY HAIL: Blind campers who may never have seen their country’s flag still can have the pleasure of raising it at Glacier View Ranch, one of several sites for National Camps for Blind Children. [Photo: CRS]
“Camp was my first time away from home,” says Lakin. While at camp, Lakin gained precious confidence and met other blind and visually impaired children. They offered her understanding and friendship. Sometimes a child with a disability has a hard time finding these two things in a public school setting.
By the time Lakin was ready for sixth grade, she enrolled in the state school for the blind. But every summer finds Lakin, taller now, back at the NCBC camp. Her guide dog comes with her.
“Camp friends are like family,” she says. Thousands of blind children would love to attend a blind camp if the opportunity were made available to them. But here’s the problem: Financial concerns reduced the number of camps in the 2010 season to 10 camps in the United States and four in Canada. Historically, in one record year, the CRSB camp department held 48 camps. At the same time, CRSB had many more area representatives in its employ to locate and invite campers and to assist with the camps.
This year Christian Record Services for the Blind is inviting Pathfinders all across the North American Division to help expand the NCBC camping program. Pathfinders involved in “Kids Helping Kids” will be asking church members, friends, and neighbors to write checks or contribute cash so a blind child may attend camp.
“What a thrill it will be in heaven one day soon to meet a boy or a girl who was once blind but is able to see Jesus’ face because Pathfinders and church members opened the way for them to learn of Jesus at blind camp,” comments Larry Pitcher, CRSB president.
Christian Record’s unique camping program serves blind and visually impaired campers with any (and no) religious background. Since the program began in 1967, it has nudged more than 50,000 blind campers toward achievement and self-confidence. National Camps for Blind Children is a member of the American Camping Association and an umbrella program of Christian Record Services for the Blind, winner of the 2010 Integrity Award from the Better Business Bureau in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Though the weeklong summer camp experience is offered to blind children free, it actually costs about $700 per camper. Winter camps are held in Colorado and Michigan at a somewhat higher cost. They offer outdoor winter activities blind youth seldom have opportunity to experience. For more information, visit www.christianrecord.org or write CRSB or NCBC at P.O. Box 6097, Lincoln, Nebraska 68506.