HARRIS' HEROES

Deaf-blind camp in Maryland gives adults a chance to learn, play

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Every summer deaf-blind individuals travel from across the country to spend a week in Anne Arundel County.

Their destination? The Deaf-Blind Camp of Maryland—a place where they step outside of their comfort zone physically and mentally.

Whether it's soaring through the air on a giant swing or bouncing across the water on a banana boat, the camp encourages campers with total or partial hearing and vision loss to step outside their comfort zone.

“It's their week of total … change of lifestyle and to do activities they don't typically get to do,” said camp coordinator Belinda Milligan.

Volunteers help the campers communicate.

“You see a variety of different communication styles and needs,” said volunteer Christine Hitchcock.

And special accommodations are in place-- like a rope walkway to guide them between buildings. There are traditional camp activities—like arts and crafts—but, also unique ones like a technology expo.

“They can learn about equipment to have more equal access to everyday lives,” said deaf-blind camper Andrew Cohen.

It’s the only camp of its kind in our area—and it attracts deaf-blind individuals nationwide.

“I enjoy coming here to help other campers to set a good example for things and explaining that it's not about can't, we can,” said deaf-blind camper Hillary Bates.

“It's an opportunity for people to shine and show their independence and show truly what they can do when environment is barrier-free,” said camp coordinator Brenda Talley.

Now in its 15th year—this peaceful oasis on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay provides camaraderie, growth and most of all, smiles.

“It's an opportunity to relax and socialize with others,” said deaf-blind camper Arthur Roehrig.

 

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