Category Archive for Uncategorized

Listening to Blind Canadians

Here is a video of blind Canadians talking about some of the challenges facing people who are blind in Canada. It was filmed at the Canadian Federation of the Blind Convention in Victoria last Spring and includes some of our staff and our colleagues from the Canadian Federation of the Blind and the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind.

Listening to Blind Canadians from Thelma Fayle on Vimeo.

Staff Photos, Then and Now

Camp Bowen turned 55 this year and our team’s commitment is as strong as ever. Though there have been many challenges this past year, one of the pillars of Camp Bowen has always been the people who have come together to make the programs we all love and cherish happen. In reflection of this, here are two staff photos, taken 50 years apart. The first was taken in 1968 and the other this year.

4 Women stand, posing for the camera in the dining hall of the lodge. 1 Man stands at either end of the group.

Taken in 1968, this staff photo features the lodge staff in the dining hall of the lodge. Credit: Bowen Island Museum and Archives.



This staff photo features the Board of Directors of the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired standing, posing for the camera wearing their orange staff shirts with the Camp Bowen logo emblazoned on the left side of the chest in blue.

Taken in 2018 at the Camp Bowen pub night fundraiser at Moose's Down Under in Vancouver, this staff photo features the Board of Directors of the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired. From left to right: Alex Jurgensen, Jessica Gladysz, Jocelyn Gladysz, Peg Mercer, Sara Batt, and Aedan Staddon.

2018, A Year in Review

As 2018 winds down and we prepare to ring in 2019, we thought we’d take a moment and reflect on the year. 2018 has been a very busy, difficult, and rewarding year that has brought both challenges and positive momentum.

8 old books of various colours in a stack

In January, we announced that we had become a licensed publisher at the end of 2017. Building on this work, we have been busy developing an artificial intelligence tool, named Bailey, to aid the publishing and library industries in making books accessible to everyone. Revenue generated by licensing Bailey will go into funding our programs here at Camp Bowen. Work on Bailey will continue into 2019 and beyond as the digital publishing landscape continues to evolve and we are excited to see her learn and progress.

Jessica, Alex, Jocelyn, and Aedan sit behind a table with promotional materials on it.

Staff sit behind the Camp Bowen table at the 2018 national AEBC conference. From left to right: Jessica Gladysz, Alex Jurgensen, Jocelyn Gladysz, and Aedan Staddon.

In April, Alex, Jessica, Jocelyn, and Aedan staffed a table at the national Alliance for the Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) conference. Jessica spoke about Bailey at the conference, during a session put together by the National Network for Equitable Library Services (NNELS).

Also in April, the independent living skills training department took on a new student. He has been working with us ever since and we look forward to continuing to work with him into 2019.

Jessica, Jocelyn, Aedan, and Alex are sitting on a couch. Aedan is smiling and the rest are laughing, looking like they are all having fun.

Camp Bowen’s delegation to the 2018 national CFB convention on convention weekend. From left to right: Jessica Gladysz, Jocelyn Gladysz, Aedan Staddon, and Alex Jurgensen.

In May, Alex, Jessica, Jocelyn, and Aedan attended the national Canadian Federation of the Blind (CFB) convention on behalf of Camp Bowen. They spoke at the convention about the importance of the covenant that governs the Bowen Island Lodge and about how it must be defended. They also spoke about the various programs and initiatives of the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired.

This staff photo features the Board of Directors of the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired standing, posing for the camera wearing their orange staff shirts with the Camp Bowen logo emblazoned on the left side of the chest in blue.

Taken in 2018 at the Camp Bowen pub night fundraiser at Moose's Down Under in Vancouver, this staff photo features the Board of Directors of the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired. From left to right: Alex Jurgensen, Jessica Gladysz, Jocelyn Gladysz, Peg Mercer, Sara Batt, and Aedan Staddon.

In July, the whole Board of Directors, including Peg, Alex, Sara, Jessica, Jocelyn, and Aedan, organized and attended a pub night fundraiser in support of Camp Bowen at Moose’s Down Under pub in Vancouver. More than 30 guests came together for a fun night of madlibs, door prizes, a 50/50 draw, and great food.

Jordan, Jessica, Jocelyn, Aedan, and Alex kneeling in front of the Camp Bowen banner with the Showdown table in the background.

Camp Bowen volunteers at Bowfest 2018. From left to right: Jordan Parke, Jessica Gladysz, Jocelyn Gladysz, Aedan Staddon, and Alex Jurgensen. Photo credit: Lisa.

At the end of August, Alex, Jessica, Aedan, and Jocelyn, along with two additional volunteers, Jordan and Lisa, attended Bowfest, Bowen Island’s community fair. They sold Braille puzzle books designed for sighted people to decode, wrote up Braille bookmarks, and administered two 50/50 ticket draws. As usual, the organization’s tent also featured a Showdown table, provided to us by BC Blind Sports. Balloon animals were also created and given out to many a happy child.

All campers from the 2016 adult retreat on the patio of the Bowen Island Lodge with Deep Bay in the background.

All Campers from the 2016 adult retreat. Photo credit: Lorraine Ashdown.

Unfortunately, due to the ongoing dispute with the Bowen Island Lodge and its owners, who wish to have legal protections for people with disabilities removed from the property via a rezoning application, the 2018 camping season was postponed. The Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired remains committed to defending the rights of people with disabilities and will continue its work to oppose this rezoning into 2019. We hope to return to normal summer camp operations as soon as possible and appreciate your patience. If you have any questions or concerns or would like to know how to help, please see here or call us at +1 (604) 947-0021 extension 102.

In October, Sara Batt, who has served in various capacities on our Board of Directors since 2014, stepped down and has accepted the post of Transportation Committee Co-Chair. She brings an enthusiasm for and a vast knowledge of travel to the position and we look forward to working with her in her new role.

A wrapped box of Purdy's hedgehogs.

Image copyright Purdy’s

At both Easter time and Christmas, the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired conducted fundraisers selling Purdy’s chocolates. At Christmas time, we split the proceeds from our Purdy’s fundraiser with one of our partners, the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind Society.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank AEBC, BC Blind Sports, the Bowen Island Community Foundation, the Bowfest committee, CFB, C-Lovers Burquitlam, Moose’s Down Under, the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind Society, and our countless other supporters, both individuals and organizations. Without you, we could not do the work that we do.

We have several other announcements we can’t wait to share with you but those will unfortunately have to wait until early 2019. In the meantime, we hope all of you have a safe and enjoyable New Year.

The Camp Bowen Team

Chocolates for the holidays!

Hello Everyone,

Christmas will be here before you know it, bringing with it family get togethers, visits with Santa for the children, and, of course, lots and lots of chocolate. This year, it is also bringing an opportunity for you to get your fix of Purdy’s delicious chocolates while supporting programs benefiting blind and Deafblind Canadians.

Dive into the holiday season with both featured items for Christmas and regular favourites such as: Himalayan Pink Salt Caramels, Peppermint Ice Miniatures, Turkish Delight, Sweet Georgia Browns, Hedgehogs – and much more!

The Camp Bowen Society for the Visually impaired provides its signature Summer camp programs and independent living skills training for blind and Deafblind Canadians, based on Bowen Island, BC. The Pacific Training Centre for the Blind offers independent living skills training in Victoria, BC through its Blind People In Charge, Home Stay, and Skill Focused programs.

Purdy’s has been making chocolates in Vancouver since 1907, and it’s still where they craft all your favourites today. Purdy’s uses only the highest quality ingredients like Canadian dairy, crunchy nuts that are roasted in-house, and only 100% sustainable cocoa. On top of supporting both the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired and the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind, every purchase you make helps improve the lives of cocoa farmers in rural communities.

Christmas is just around the corner and Purdy’s chocolates are great treats to offer your friends and family over supper, as Christmas gifts, or just because. After all, who ever needed an excuse to eat chocolate?

Place your order online now!

You pay the same as you’d pay in-store or online, and the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired and the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind will jointly get 25% of sales.

You will need to register by entering your first name, last name, email address and creating a password. Once registered and logged in, you should be directed to our Christmas Fundraiser Campaign page. From there you are able to: invite other members, shop online, and pay for your orders.

Orders can be picked up at our four pickup locations: Victoria, Vancouver, Surrey, and Bowen Island. Please call +1 (604) 947-0021 extension 102 before November 21, 2018 to arrange a pickup date, time, and location. You don’t pay for shipping!

Don’t miss the order deadline: November 28th at 11:59 PM Pacific.

We thank you in advance for your support of programs benefiting blind and Deafblind Canadians.

Please feel free to call us at +1 (604) 947-0021 extension 102 with any questions you may have about this fundraiser. For questions about our program offerings, please contact us.

Merry Christmas,
The Camp Bowen Team

Going Forward Report (2018-2019)

Going forward, the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired is committed to working to resolve the issues surrounding the Bowen Island Lodge and will make every effort to run a camping program in 2019. We remain as committed as ever to protecting the rights of the blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind to access the Bowen Island Lodge as well as the rights of our Bowen Island neighbours. The society also plans to continue its fundraising efforts, both online and through events currently being planned, including our pub night fundraiser coming up on July 14, 2018 at Moose’s Down Under in Vancouver. We will also be at Bowfest, Bowen Island’s community fair, on August 25, 2018.

In 2016, the society’s board of directors voted to move forward with plans to create a live-in independent living skills training centre for the blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind. Work on this initiative is ongoing and we are pleased to say that it is progressing well. We look forward to continuing work on this project into next year and beyond.

The society will also make improvements to our machine learning tool, Bailey. We will also expand Canadian Blindness Services to provide even more resources.

Finally, the society will continue to recruit volunteers, develop community partnerships, and otherwise strengthen its program offerings.

Looking Back Report (2017-2018)

At the beginning of December the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired was made a publisher by Library and Archives Canada. Achieving this designation allowed us to create an initiative, launched on World Braille Day, to create accessible books in electronic text, audio, and Braille as part of our effort to increase literacy of people who are blind, visually impaired, or deaf blind. We have called this initiative Camp Bowen Books.

Expanding on our outreach initiatives from last year that saw a telephone information line created for the dissemination of society news, the board launched Canadian Blindness Services (canadianblindnessservices.com) to collect as much information as possible on the resources available to blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind Canadians. When complete it will also have information on blindness, partial sight, and deaf blindness of interest to families, employers, organizations, and others who want to make a difference in this space. We began promoting the service, though it is still in its infancy, at the 2018 White Cane Week event held at the Park Royal Shopping Centre in North Vancouver, BC on February 8, 2018.

Also in February, the society began work on Bailey, a machine learning tool designed to speed up and reduce effort required for the production of 21st century ready accessible books. Bailey is a software application that works by learning from the work of human book producers and applying the knowledge she gains to automatically perform common production tasks. Bailey, has been hard at work and will have her first set of books complete soon. This includes the greater than 162 titles the society will be contributing free of charge to the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS). By using Bailey, volunteers will be able to produce public domain titles faster and more efficiently than ever before. Bailey can produce multiple forms of ebooks, DAISY books, audiobooks, and Braille books and we are excited to see where she will go next.

In April, the society launched a pilot program for its training initiative. The pilot will help to inform decisions regarding delivery of training services and will be followed up by an expanded pilot ahead of the development of a live-in independence living skills training centre.

Finally, the society continues to advocate for the rights of the blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind community and our Bowen Island neighbours in the dispute over the Bowen Island Lodge situation as it pertains to the covenant governing the use of the lands and facilities. The covenant, which restricts the property to having the principal use as a training, meeting, and recreation space for those who are blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind, is not being properly followed by the current management, who have not yet addressed safety, accessibility, and affordability concerns that make the property in its current state unusable by the principal use group. The significant issues surrounding the Bowen Island Lodge came to a head early in 2017 after attempts to resolve said issues with the owners who purchased the property in 2016 came to a standstill. As a result of the issues, which span the categories of safety, accessibility, affordability, and facility access, summer camps have been postponed until 2019. The society has been working tirelessly with the community of Bowen Island and the Bowen Island Municipality to resolve these issues and remains committed to ensuring that the blind, visually impaired, and deaf blind community’s rights of access to the Bowen Island Lodge are upheld. For progress updates, visit our website at:
https://www.campbowen.ca/lodge/summary/

Agenda for the 2018 Annual General Meeting

June 15, 2018

  • 1. Call to Order
  • 2. Approval of Agenda
  • 3. Approval of Minutes From the 2017 AGM
  • 4. Looking Back Report
  • 5. Financial Report
    • 5.1. Motion:
      Whereas the society’s 2017 financial report is still being assembled
      Let it be resolved that the Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired hold a special meeting of the members to approve the financial report with notice of such a meeting given by email, social media, and the society’s website: www.campbowen.ca
  • 6. Voting
    • 6.1. N/A (No open positions)
  • 7. Going Forward Report
  • 8. Adjournment

Note: An opportunity for community discussion will follow the meeting.

Announcement of AGM, Join Us on Bowen or by Teleconference

On Tuesday, August 4, 2015, we will be holding the Camp Bowen Annual General Meeting to discuss the future of Camp Bowen. The meeting will also serve as a great way to meet the community coordinators and board of directors responsible for camp operations. Finally, this meeting will be an opportunity to contribute to the planning of future Camp Bowen programs. This is, after all, your program and we value your input.

We are offering two ways to participate in the meeting. You can either meet us on Bowen Island itself or call in via teleconference.

For those of you planning to come out to Bowen, the plan is to meet at the Bowen Island ferry terminal at 12:40. When you come off the boat, stay to the left and we will be waiting by the first building.

The meeting is expected to last from 1:15 to 2:30, giving on-site visitors a chance to catch the 3:00 ferry back to Horseshoe Bay.

Topics on the agenda include:

  • Welcome speech
  • State of the Program
  • Society report
  • Financial report
  • Appointment of new directors
  • Community discussion
  • Q and A

Interested in a Position?

We are accepting nominations for the following positions:

  • Community Cooardinator (Alberta)
  • Community Coordinator (Saskatchewan)
  • Community Coordinator (Fraser Valley)
  • Community Coordinator (Sunshine Coast and Upper West Coast)
  • Vice President
  • Treasurer

To nominate yourself or someone you know, please call Alex Jurgensen, Community Coordinator for the Bowen Island Region, at: +1 (778) 908-0521.

We hope to see you all there at the meeting. If you require any assistance getting off the ferry or generally have questions or concerns, please direct them to your local community coordinator by calling +1 (844) 692-6936.

The Bowen Lodge Totem Pole

The following was retrieved from the Bowen Island Lodge’s archives and is displayed below with permission.

It is one of the first documents we are releasing as part of the Camp Bowen History project.

Overview

The Bowen Lodge Totem Pole was carved in 1926 by a member of the Sechelt Band, from a cedar tree estimated to be 500 years old. The pole was commissioned by the Union Steamships and stood in front of their offices in Bowen Village until 1961, when they offered it as a welcoming gift to the new arrival, CNIB.

The Totem & Its Spirit Symbols

It is a typical Salish pole, as per the three colors used – red, black and green. The black paint was made from a plant called devil’s club, which was an Indian medicine plant; the red from a sacred mountain called “tumuth’; the green from the top of the devil’s club, which is the plant part of it. They mixed in deer marrow.

“Reading” the pole from the top-down:

  • The first figure is an eagle, which is a spirit messenger in Native culture.
  • The second figure is a black fish, which is a spirit messenger of the underworld.
  • The killer wale, guardian of the underworld, is the third figure.
  • The fourth figure is a transformation figure, which represents the Chief being transformed into a bear.
  • The fifth figure is a frog.
  • The sixth figure would be the Chief, fully transformed into a bear.
  • The next figure is another frog, which is another transformation figure.
  • The bottom of the pole is a black bear. It represents the clan of the tribe.

This is a spiritual pole. The story it tells is of the powers that the Natives related to these spirits; when they sang a song and danced to them. The white spots are supposed to be eyes, representing access to the spirit world. They protect the dances, when they enter the spirit world, because they can see the evil spirits.

CNIB’s 75th Anniversary

CNIB’s 75th anniversary was in 1992. One of the BC – Yukon’s division anniversary projects was to have the pole restored. The then Executive Director applied to the BC Ministry of Tourism and Culture for financial assistance.

The Restoration

The Province agreed to finance the restoration and Master Carver, Stan Joseph of the Garibaldi Estates in Squamish, BC was commissioned to do the work. Mr. Joseph had been restoring Pacific North West totem poles in Canada, Japan, Germany and England for 16 years. BC Hydro supplied a crane to hoist the pole out of the ground and lay it out flat.

The pole was stripped of paint and loose wood. Wings were made for the eagle from 1’ x 12” strips of laminated red cedar. The cracks and holes in the pole were filled with cold cure and then it was sanded and painted. A special metal insert was made for the base of the pole to protect it from the earth and a metal brace was attached to the back of the pole for stability.

Pole Raising

When the pole was ready to stand upright again, a public dedication ceremony was held. It was attended by the local MLA for Victoria and the Local MP for Ottawa as well as the Bowen Island Community Heritage Committee.

There is a plaque recognizing the contribution of the Government of British Columbia.

Adult Camps

We are honoured to be the host organization of the Adult Retreat program on Bowen Island for the 4th consecutive year. Join us for season 51 of Camp Bowen and relax by the cool summer water or take a stroll among the friendly community of sunny Bowen Island. Reconnect with old friends and perhaps make a few new ones. No matter what your favourite pastime is, there is sure to be a lot of fun in store for you this year.

Details

Dates:
June 27-29 (See below for extended dates)
Cost:
$259 (room sharing with 1 other person) or $399 (individual room)
Meals provided:
  • Light lunch Friday
  • Dinner Friday
  • Breakfast Saturday
  • Lunch Saturday
  • Dinner Saturday
  • Breakfast Sunday
  • Light lunch Sunday

Eating Off-site

If you plan to eat any meals off-site, please indicate this on your registration form and we can adjust your pricing accordingly.

Extended Dates

By popular request we are exploring the possibility of extending this year’s adult camp through to July 1st. We ask that all campers wishing to see this option move forward please take the time to indicate their interest on their registration forms. To register, please see below.

Questions, Transportation and Registration

Registrations can either be downloaded here or filled out via telephone (See below).

For questions or to get assistance with booking transportation, please call Alex Jurgensen, Community Coordinator for the Bowen Island region, at: +1 (778) 908-0521.