A letter from a former camper, Kevin Andrews
When I was 11, I went to summer camp for the first time. At the time, it was Camp Tuhsmeheta through Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind.
It was my first time away from home rooming with a bunch of strangers I didn’t know in a very rustic cabin with a bunch of bunk beds all in the open. I can remember how absolutely terrified I was. This was only a four-day session, but in that time frame, the concepts of independence and self-reliance really began to present themselves and they were pushed, with tender, love, and care of course, on me by intelligent, confident, and fantastic counselors and mentors, both blind and sighted. I went back for two more summers following that, and the scariness of being away from home, a familiar space with which I was comfortable, began to subside, slowly but surely. Now, nearly 10 years since I last visited Camp T, I’ve moved 2,100 miles away from my parents’ place. I work full-time at a prominent university in Central California, live on my own, pay bills, and lead a fairly productive social life outside of work. I’ve discovered my passions for orientation and mobility and public transit. Although Camp T and OUB programs only played a small role getting me to where I am today, it was an integral role, and I have OUB folks, along with many others, to thank for helping to shape me into a confident and successful young adult who just happens to be blind. I’ve learned to embrace my disability, and it is just a small aspect of who I am.
OUB is no longer using the Camp Tuhsmeheta site, but our values and work remains the same. We want as many young people with blindness and visual impairments to feel as Kevin feels, independent, successful, confident, and able to conquer to world! If you know a young adult who has attended our camps, we want to hear from them. We are a community, always building each other up. We also want to thank Kevin for this wonderful letter, full of what it means to have experiences that allow people to become the best they can be.
Achieving our Mission- Quotes from Campers and Staff
“I learned a lot this year from OUB summer camps such as cooking and O&M skills and I loved all the staff! I can’t wait for next summer.”
“I’ve never taken anything out of the oven before and I did it!”
“Learning to adapt to different situations and having fun at the same time was one of my highlights from OUB’s camps this summer.”
“Before I went to camp I wanted to be a gymnast and after camp I wanted to be a counselor to help others like me.”
“It was AWE to the SOME!” ” This is the BEST Adventure Trip EVER!”
“Sleeping in tents this summer was awesome! It was my first time sleeping in tent. Thanks OUB for all you do.”
“At Camp we teach the campers to be independent and help them improve skills they already have, such as cooking, braille, and cleaning up after each other. To me camp means helping the campers, having fun, and bonding with other staff members.”
“When we went to the Upper Peninsula we did a lot of cool stuff, from hiking along the beach to going into a working light house, but my favorite part was the 7 mile hike that we did on our last day. That was true adventure because we had a narrow path and there were lots of mud traps and tripping hazards along the way, but that was one of the most fun parts of camp.”
“It was a great summer….the kids had a great time and that’s all that matters!”