About Braille Literacy Camp
- 7 Days (6 Nights)
- Next Session
- August 6-13, 2023
- $195 (funding available)
- Travel support available
- Bowen Lodge by the Sea (get directions)
- Printable information
- Print now!
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Please note: Children and youth ages 8 to 18 might also be interested in Camp Bowen: Linda Evans Memorial Music Camp 2023.
Braille Literacy Camp is a seven-day overnight summer independence camp that brings together up to 18 blind, low vision, and DeafBlind children from across Canada to learn and improve on Braille skills, make friends who experience some of the same challenges they do, have fun, and gain confidence. Campers explore Braille through games, crafts, and practical projects such as writing Braille reports about interviews they conduct with community members, composing poetry, and publishing a daily Braille newspaper. These fun and educational activities are designed to excite children about Braille while improving their skills and increasing their understanding of the world around them. Positive blind and DeafBlind mentors are part of the staff, which ensure blind, low vision, and DeafBlind children understand that blind, low vision, and DeafBlind people can be confident and competent adults. These mentors also answer questions about how to do things as a blind, low vision, or DeafBlind person based on their own lived experience, and lead small group discussions.
There is compelling evidence that shows blind, low vision, and DeafBlind children who learn Braille are set up more to succeed in life than those who only use speech technologies. A study conducted by Ruby Ryles from the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University found that blind students who read Braille had significantly higher scores on standardized reading comprehension tests than those who did not read Braille (61% vs. 38%), with even bigger discrepancies in spelling accuracy (Ruby Ryles 2004). Research by Doug Brent, a University of Calgary communications professor, and Diana Brent, a teacher of blind children, found that short stories written by blind students unable to read Braille tended to have poor grammar, feature gaps in logic, and be disorganized, “As if all of their ideas are crammed into a container, shaken and thrown randomly onto a sheet of paper like dice onto a table” (Brent & Brent 2000). By comparison, blind students proficient in Braille could express their ideas in a more logical and organized manner. In addition to helping with reading comprehension, spelling, and developing logical thought processes, Braille helps blind, low vision, and DeafBlind students to be more employable later in life. Ryles’ study found that 56% of Braille users were unemployed versus 77% for non-Braille users. Despite the evidence supporting the value of Braille instruction, there is no minimum amount of Braille instruction required by school systems.
Braille Literacy Camp bridges the gap in Braille instruction through fun activities that encourage a life-long love of Braille and develop mastery of the code, all while building social skills. For low vision children, Braille Literacy Camp exposes them to an alternative to large print that is more efficient (Louisiana Centre for the Blind methodology) and eliminates eye strain.
Another critical part of Braille Literacy Camp is the opportunities it provides for blind, low vision, and DeafBlind children to explore their world. Campers participate in engaging and wide-ranging activities, such as touring Bowen Island workplaces and learning about marine life from a diver who brings up various sea life for campers to touch. These activities open the minds of blind, low vision, and DeafBlind children who often do not have the same types of opportunities to learn about the world around them as their sighted peers. These activities inspire life-long learning.
Confidence and Independence Through Recreation
Like all of Camp Bowen’s summer independence camp programs, Braille literacy Camp balances recreation and skills learning, with a focus on fun and friendship! Campfires, hikes, community outings, self-defense, swimming/boating, and board games are just some of the activities Camp Bowen offers. The skills taught through these fun activities prepare youth for truly life-long independence and build their confidence.
We do not want funding to be a barrier for any child or teen who wishes to attend Camp Bowen. Funding is available to cover camp fees and travel expenses and can be requested during the registration process.
To register, fill out the camp registration form.