East Texas visually impaired kids go to camp

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - "It is the best week pretty much ever!  I don't know if I'll ever do anything this amazing," said camper Casey Wigley.

They come from all different parts of East Texas, but they have one thing in common.

"It makes you sort of feel important that you can actually do something even though your sight is sort of gone," camper Kirsten Kirby said.

The campers are all visually impaired, but that doesn't stop them from the seemingly impossible.

"Obviously, you know since I can't see and you know, you'd think that it's not possible, oh she's blind, she can't you know walk across the rope, or you know just anything," said camper Kassandra Cardenas.

Fellow camper Kirsten Kirby agreed, "It was a really good experience to know that you can basically do whatever you want to do even if you are visually impaired or completely blind like I am."

One instructor said just seeing the campers participate is life-changing.

"Getting folks like this to be able to accomplish and probably participate in things where probably a lot of times they either didn't let themselves or other people probably counted them out and didn't let them try.  I mean, it's been a pretty special experience," said Michael Maningas with the SFA Campus Recreation Department.

An experience where Cardenas is unable to see at 30 feet in the air, and she said she has the advantage.

"A lot of people are always like, they look down, I've heard that that's horrible, so not being able to see, guess that's like a benefit for me," Cardenas said.

They inspired one counselor to face his fears.

"I figure if they can do it, I can do it as well," said Marcus French, who was helping the campers out.

They may not be able to see the hands clapping or their fellow campers below, but they can feel the support of sharing a common bond.

"You can chase your dream, you can believe in yourself, you can basically do whatever you want to do, except for people like me who can't drive," said Kirby.

Because if you can walk a cable without looking, she said almost anything is possible.

The week-long camp is a partnership between SFA and the division of blind services.  The campers also get to go horse-back riding, swimming, and they get to learn how to use various instruments to help them learn.

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