15+ Summer Camps for Blind Kids

2 Blind Kids enjoying while rowing the boat
By 
Hillary Kleck

Did you ever think your child couldn’t attend summer camp because of his or her visual impairment? Well that’s simply not true! There are many annual summer camps your child or teenager could attend. We found 15 camps for braille, sports, independence and leadership, and some that just want your child to be able to have a true summer camp experience just like his peers!

We’ve divided the list of camps below into categories based on the area of focus. We’ve also provided information to help familiarize you with the camp and the website link to find more information, contact details and applications. Have fun this summer!

Areas of Focus:

 
 

Eleanor at story time


Braille Camps


NFB Bell Academy

Website: https://nfb.org/bell-academy

Hosted by: National Federation of the Blind

Multiple Locations: Arizona, California, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah

Multiple Dates: Varies by Location (May - July)

Day Camp: Camps span 2 weeks Monday - Friday for 6 hours/day

Costs: Varies by Location (many are FREE!)

Ages: 4-12 years

Requirements: The Academy serves students who are not currently receiving enough Braille instruction in school or who could benefit from Braille enrichment over the summer.

NFB BELL Academy provides children ages 4-12 with intense Braille instruction through fun, hands-on learning activities. In addition to Braille crafts, games, and other engaging projects, children learn vital independent living skills, benefit from peer learning and mentoring from blind adults, and enjoy field trips to sites related to the NFB BELL Academy curriculum.

 

Braillebeats Fine Arts Program

Website: http://www.braillebeats.org

Hosted by: Blind Vision Inc and World Access for the Blind

Location: Lapeer, Michigan

Dates: June 18-26, 2016

Residential Camp: Students stay overnight for the duration of the camp.

Costs: Yes, but not specified on the website.

Ages: 9 years - young adults

Requirements: Open to students with visual impairments who have an interest in the fine arts.

The Braillebeats program is specially designed to address the unique needs of students who are blind or visually impaired. It helps students develop skills in the Fine Arts including music (braille music notation, too!), art and movement. The program is most well known for its superb music classes centered around a different theme each year. Activities include a talent show, art exhibit, and independence skills for a variety of skills and environments.

 
 

math at camp


STEM Camps


Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students (SCIVIS)

Website: http://www.tsbvi.edu/space/programs.htm

Hosted by: US Space and Rocket Center

Location: Huntsville, Alabama

Dates: September 24-29, 2016

Residential Camp: Students stay overnight for the duration of the camp

Costs: $795 (Space Camp, Academy, Mach I, II, III), $895 (Advanced Academy), AND $75 Chaperone Fee

Ages: Grades 4-6 (Space Camp & Mach I Aviation Challenge), Grades 7-12 (Space Academy & Mach II Aviation Challenge), Grades 10-12 (Advanced Academy & Mach III Aviation Challenge) *Partial Scholarships are Available

Requirements: Read about requirements on the SCIVIS FAQ page

SCIVIS is four separate programs for students of different ages and experience. SCIVIS is an accessible Space Camp coordinated by teachers of the visually impaired. It aims to give kids with visual impairments a fully inclusive space camp experience above and beyond your greatest expectations! Space Camp is sure to be the highlight of the summer for your child interested in space exploration! You can read about the personal experiences of two students who attended Space Camp in the article, "Reach for the Stars!"
 

NFB Engineering Quotient (NFB EQ)

Website: http://www.blindscience.org/NFBEQ

Hosted by: National Federation of the Blind

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Dates: June 19-25, 2016 (Camp #1) AND July 31 - August 6, 2016 (Camp #2)

Residential Camp: Students stay overnight for the duration of the camp

Costs: FREE

Ages: Grades 9-12

Requirements: Students must be in grades 9-12 during the 2015-2016 school year, be a US resident, and be available to attend the entire program.

Students who are interested in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) are invited to apply to the NFB EQ Summer Programs held at the Jernigan Institute. During NFB EQ, students will work together to develop solutions to real-world problems of third-world countries. They’ll conduct research and prototypes, collect and analyze data, just as engineers and scientists do everyday. Only 40 students are accepted into the programs each year with applications due in early May. It’s sure to be an exciting and informative week for any student interested in a STEM career!

 
 

climbing a rope at camp


Independence Camps with Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC)


Summer Experience Camp

Website: http://www.leaderdog.org/clients/programs/summer-experience-camp

Hosted by: Leader Dogs for the Blind

Location: Rochester Hills, Michigan

Dates: June 25 - July 2, 2016

Residential Camp: Students stay overnight for the duration of the camp

Costs: FREE

Ages: 16-17 years old

Requirements: Find out about the requirements by downloading the application packet (ZIP file).

Teenagers will spend the week developing leadership and independence skills while participating in a variety of summertime activities including kayaking, rock wall climbing, tandem biking and more! They'll also have the opportunity to learn about guide dogs, independent travel, and spend time with peers with visual impairments. The camp is led by a number of well-qualified instructors and mentors so kids will be sure to have fun while learning many necessary skills.

 

VISIONS Summer Transition Program

Website: http://www.visionsvcb.org/visions/programs/kids/

Hosted by: VISIONS Center on Blindness

Location: Queens College, New York

Dates: July 10 - August 5, 2016

Residential Camp: Students stay overnight for the duration of the camp.

Costs: Not specified

Ages: 16+ years old

Requirements: Applicants must be New York City High School Students with Visual Impairments who can travel independently

Students will participate in activities and classes to help build independence and prepare for life after high school, whether in a college or employment setting. Specific areas include technology, orientation and mobility, socialization, fitness and recreation as well as self-advocacy. Additional programs for students and families are provided by the VISIONS Center on Blindness throughout the year. Details are available on the VISIONS website.

 

Washington State DSB Summer Camps

Website: http://www.dsb.wa.gov/services/youth-programs.shtml

Hosted by: Washington State Department of Services for the Blind

Location: Washington

Multiple Dates: July - August, Varies from 1-6 week long programs

Camps include both Day and Residential Programs

Costs: FREE

Ages:

  • 9 - 13 years old (Skills Camp)
  • 14 - 15 years old (Youth Employment Solutions I, YES I)
  • 16 - High School Graduate (YES II)
  • After High School (Bridge Program)

Requirements: Requirements vary for the different programs. Applicants are encouraged to contact the WA State DSB with questions about the summer camps.

The WADSB Summer Camps are intended to help students with visual impairments practice independent living skills and other Expanded Core Curriculum skills including socialization, technology, and orientation and mobility, among others. The Employment Camps are designed to help older students transition into the workforce and college environments as they learn to self-advocate and prepare for life after high school. Programs are conducted across Washington.

 

Service Leadership Camp

Website: http://www.oubmichigan.org/camps-and-events-schedule/

Hosted by: Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind (OUB Camps)

Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Dates: July 5-10, 2016

Residential Camp: Students stay overnight for the duration of the camp.

Costs: $25 registration fee

Ages: 11-19 years old

Requirements: Complete details can be found on the OUB Michigan website.

OUB Summer Camps are held at Camp Optimist in Michigan where participants will have fun while learning new skills. The Service Leadership Camp is for older campers with a focus on learning to give and counteract bullying and being left out of activities. Students will learn strategies for these situations from adults who are blind or visually impaired! OUB also offers three additional camps for kids with visual impairments.

 

Cookin’ & Jammin' Camp

Website: http://www.oubmichigan.org/camps-and-events-schedule/

Hosted by: Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind (OUB Camps)

Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Dates: June 26 - July 1, 2016

Residential Camp: Students will stay overnight for the duration of the camp.

Costs: $25 registration fee

Ages: 7-14 years old

Requirements: Students with an interest in cooking are encouraged to apply!

The Cookin’ & Jammin’ Camp is a unique summer program for kids with visual impairments who have an interest in music and cooking! Each camper will have an individualized program to help focus on their own needs and skills while learning new skills. Over half the staff are young adults who are visually impaired or blind to serve as the ultimate role models for your child. Specialized instruction in music and cooking is the main focus, but campers will also experience traditional camp activities to make the week truly sensational!

 

Visually Impaired & Blind Youth Services Camp

Website: http://www.bearlakecamp.org/index.php/summer-groups/4-visually-impaired-blind-youth-sessions

Hosted by: Lions Bear Lake Camp

Location: Lapeer, Michigan

Dates: July 10-16, 2016 (Level 1) AND July 24-30, 2016 (Level 2)

Residential Camp: Students will stay overnight for the duration of the camp.

Costs: $50 registration fee

Ages: 7- 15 years old

Requirements: Children must be able to demonstrate independence skills with occasional or no assistance needed including traveling, eating, dressing, showering and socializing.

The Summer Youth Sessions are divided into two levels for children with visual impairments of varying abilities. Both sessions focus on independence and daily living skills while enjoying summertime outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, zip lines, and more! Families who are interested and new to the camp are encouraged to attend the Open House on July 3, 2015 from 12 - 3pm, complete with cookout! A registration form for the Open House is available on the Bear Lake Camp website.

 
 

riding a bike at camp


Sports & Recreation


Camp Abilities

Website: http://www.campabilities.org

Hosted by: Camp Abilities Brockport, a 501(c)3 organization

Location: Brockport, NY & Multiple Locations Worldwide

Dates: June 26 - July 2, 2016, Varying dates for other locations

Residential Camp: Students stay overnight for the duration of the camp.

Costs: $900 *New York State residents may obtain funding from the Commission for the Blind

Ages: 9-19 years old

Requirements: Due to the design of this camp, requirements are strict and detailed on the Camp Abilities website under Eligibility. Please refer to the webpage for complete information regarding the qualifications of camper applicants. Some requirements include that the child must be predominantly independent and verbal, must not need a nurse, except for emergency situations, of course, and mobility limitations that could cause the child not to be able to compete in some or all of the activities.

Camp Abilities is a specialized sports and recreation camp for children with visual impairments. It’s unique design incorporates 1-on-1 instruction for every camper with counselors from college programs from physical and special education. Every day of the camp is a full schedule with yoga, meals, and recreational activities including tandem biking, goalball, gymnastics, swimming, beep baseball and much, much more! You may also be interested in the article, "What is Camp Abilities?" with a transcription of an interview with Lauren Lieberman on the American Foundation for the Blind website.

 

Running Blind Adventure Camp

Website: http://www.oubmichigan.org/camps-and-events-schedule/

Hosted by: Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind, OUB Camps

Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Dates: July 12-19, 2016

Residential Camp: Adventurers will stay overnight for the duration of the camp.

Costs: $25 registration fee

Ages: 13-19 years old

Requirements: Students must be able to complete the physical requirements for the trip.

Running Blind takes teenagers with visual impairments on a 4-day adventure trip down the Manistee River. Adventurers will canoe down the river and camp along the way! The last day is set aside for relaxing and fun activities. Please note that plans are still tentative for this camp. Families should contact OUB for further details.

 
 

tommy on the dock at camp


The Genuine Camp Experience


National Camps for Blind Children (NCBC Camps)

Website: http://www.blindcamps.org

Hosted by: Christian Record Services for the Blind

Multiple Locations: Colorado, Florida, Maine, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Arkansas

Multiple Dates: June - July 2016

Residential Camp: Campers stay overnight for the duration of the camp.

Costs: $35 registration fee

Ages: 7 - 17 years old AND Family Camps for ALL AGES

Requirements: Vary by location so be sure to check the location’s specific website for details.

National Camps for Blind Children operate a number of camps in multiple locations where over 50,000 children and families have participated in a wide range of activities associated with the "summer camp experience" by sighted peers. Activities include accessible archery, basketball, waterpark visits, mountain biking, horseback riding, candle making and many more! Details for each camp location can be found by following the links on the Blind Camps website.

 

Camp Little Rock

Website: http://www.tlrf.org/programs.php#camp

Hosted by: The Little Rock Foundation

Location: Medford, NJ

Dates: August 22-26, 2016

Day Camp: 9am - 4pm with a Sleepover on Thursday Night!

Costs: FREE

Ages: 7-16 years old

Requirements: Children must be affiliated with a state agency for the visually impaired or blind to attend the camp for free.

The Camp is held annually at the YMCA Ockanickon Camp in New Jersey. Campers will participate in activities including hiking, boating, fishing, swimming, horseback riding, low ropes course, talent show, camp program crafts and many other camp related activities. Lunch and snacks are provided every day along with dinner and breakfast for the sleepover. It will be a summer your child will never forget!

 

Inter-Actions Summer Camp

Website: http://inter-actions.org

Hosted by: Inter-Actions, a nonprofit organization

Location: Kingston, NH

Dates: July 31 - August 6, 2016 (1-week camp), August 7-20, 2016 (2-weeks camp), AND July 31- August 20, 2016 (3-weeks camp)

Residential Camp: Children stay overnight for the duration of the camp.

Costs: $775 (1-week), $1375 (2-weeks), $1850 (3-weeks) *Scholarships Available

Ages: 8-15 years old

Requirements: Specific requirements are not shown on the website. Families are encouraged to contact the staff for additional information.

Children will enjoy a true summer camp experience at Camp Inter-Actions, complete with rewarding activities including swimming, boating, fishing, adapted sports, pottery, woodworking and music- a highlight of the camp for many kids! Campers will also participate in leadership-building activities and practice daily living skills while housed in rustic screened cabins! Separate cabins house the dining hall, main house and nurse on the camp grounds. Visit the Camp Inter-Actions website for lots of pictures from past years to get an idea of what your child will enjoy!

 

 

 

Wow! We know there are probably lots more camps for kids and teens with visual impairments so please be sure to share them with us in the comments section below or on social media! Many of the camps are searching for volunteers, counselors and teachers to help at the camps as well so be sure to pass on the information to any college students, family & friends, or teachers you know.

All of the camp websites encourage families to reach out to them with any questions using the contact information they provide. Don’t let your child miss out on all the opportunities for summer fun. Summer camps are memories that will last a lifetime!

 

15+ Summer Camps for Blind Kids