Sunset Lake Is a Summer Highlight for Blind Campers
What if camp was the only place you could really reconnect with your friends? What if you made lifelong friends with your fellow campers during that one week of camp? This is what it’s like for 13 campers during a special week of blind camp at Sunset Lake Camp in Wilkeson, Wash.
A week of camp is one of the highlights of Alan Bridgeford's summer. The Bothell, Wash., native has been blind since he was very young, but that doesn't stop him from participating in some of his favorite activities with his friends, such as zip lining and playing the accordion during the talent show.
“My favorite things to do at camp are zip lining, horses and banana boating,” says Bridgeford, who sat excitedly on the bench after coming down the zip line. “I also love coming back to camp because I get to reconnect with my friends every year.”
“This is the only place they (Michael, Alan and Andy) can have time together,” says Carrie Bridgeford, chaperone and mother to Alan. “They get to form relationships and grow in their friendships.”
Caleb, blind camp volunteer counselor, has been a counselor at Sunset Lake Camp for a few years. This year he returned as a volunteer counselor for blind camp.
“It’s cool to see everyone become friends over the years,” says Caleb. “I was nervous when I started a few years ago, but they become your friends so easily, and I was able to relax and have fun. It’s a chance to interact and see the importance of different perspectives.”
During his first year as a counselor, Caleb remembers a blind camper named Tanner, who wanted to sleep outside because it was too hot inside. With permission, Caleb and Tanner have continued their tradition of sleeping outside every year at blind camp.
“I also remember in the past years, I had one camper named Devin, who struggled with loud noises and going up to the top of the zip line,” says Caleb as he watches the blind campers zip down the zip line in excitement. “He was able to do it this year!”
At camp, these campers get to do just about everything, from boating to horseback riding and zip lining. Going to Sunset Lake Camp is a highlight of their summer.