Associated Image:Camp Lighthouse: Kids Find Focus Through Fun

Camp Lighthouse: Kids Find Focus Through Fun

Camp Lighthouse: Kids Find Focus Through Fun

The first full week of June was packed with play for 12 local youth who participated in Vision Rehabilitation Services’ (VRS) Camp Lighthouse. Through a succession of activities around the community, these visually impaired campers, ages 7 to 16, practiced navigating new environments aided by Lighthouse Louisiana staff. Robert Trahan, Director of VRS and Camp Director; Wendy Cochran, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant; Eric Mills and Carl Arredondo, Orientation and Mobility Instructors; and Louise Alexander, Vision Rehab Instructor, helped campers fine-tune their mobility and practice appropriate social etiquette.

“A change from the previous camps was that the older kids were given the role of camp mentors,” said Trahan. “They really fell into their roles and seemed to enjoy contributing meaningfully to the development of the younger children.”

Camp kicked off June 5 with orientation, practicing social interaction skills, and honing orientation and mobility skills. The day finished with a walk to the Children’s Hospital cafeteria, where the campers were given the opportunity to incorporate newly learned skills and encouraged to manage the food line independently.

“Some kids are in their late teens before they perform a monetary transaction,” said Trahan. “Children’s Hospital was very gracious in helping them with this experience.”

On the second day, campers further sharpened the skills they learned from day one by visiting the Creole Queen, where they practiced dining etiquette and navigating an unknown environment. A swim day at the Lawn and Tennis Club was planned for the third day. Campers enjoyed riding rides at City Park’s Carousel Gardens Amusement Park on day four. Colonial Lanes hosted the group on their fifth and final day. Many of the outings were first-time experiences for the participants. All ignited joyful exuberance from the children and teens and gave them more confidence to explore their worlds.

Special thanks to Richard Maia, Michelle Villere, Linda Green, and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park for sponsoring activities and refreshments for the campers.