Category Archive for Uncategorized

In Memory of Linda Evans

Alex Jurgensen and Matthew Alvernaz stand, facing the camera. Matthew is holding his Saxophone with Alex in the background.

From left to right: Alex Jurgensen (16) and Matthew Alvernaz (13), two friends who met at Camp Bowen. Photo by Stuart Davis for the Vancouver Sun

Please note: The following announcement was made at the Camp Bowen Society for the Independence of the Blind and Deafblind’s Annual Meeting of Members, held on Bowen Island, BC on September 17, 2019.

Announcing Camp Bowen: Linda Evan’s Memorial Music Camp

On August 16, 2019, the Board of Directors of the Camp Bowen Society for the Independence of the Blind and Deafblind unanimously approved the renaming of the Music Camp program to “Camp Bowen: Linda Evans Memorial Music Camp”, in memory of Linda Evans (October 3, 1949 January 3, 2009).

Summer after summer, Linda took great pleasure in volunteering her time at Camp Bowen, where her sing-alongs became a beloved camp staple. Those of us who were fortunate enough to have met Linda always knew that we could count on her to provide a listening ear whenever we needed it.

Among Linda’s many accomplishments, she was instrumental in the creation of Camp Bowen’s original music camp and band camp programs, the latter of which was renamed in her honour in 2008, the last year the program ran under CNIB. Her love of music and vision for what the band camp ultimately became leaves a lasting legacy that will continue on to touch future generations.

As we approach what would have been Linda’s 70th birthday on October 3 and in preparation of officially reopening the program in 2020, we are renaming the program to remember the strong, courageous, and compassionate woman who was taken from us way too soon and who’s vision and legacy will live on to inspire new generations of blind, low vision, and Deafblind musicians at Camp Bowen.

Camp Bowen: Linda Evan’s Memorial Music Camp will join Camp Bowen: Adult Camp on the 2020 summer camp roster.

Camp Bowen: Linda Evan’s Memorial Music Camp 2020 is designed to bring together low vision, blind, and Deafblind youth ages eight to eighteen on Bowen Island, BC, to learn the basics of playing musical instruments, build peer support networks, have fun, and gain confidence. Campers will explore the beginner band curriculum and will participate in an end of camp concert that their families, friends, and the Bowen Island community will be invited to attend. Giving campers skills and confidence in music fundamentals means campers can go on to take part in school band and community music programs. Camp Bowen staff are very pleased to be once again working alongside volunteers from the West Vancouver Youth Band to provide this exciting program.

Notice of the Camp Bowen Society for the Independence of the Blind and Deafblind’s Annual Meeting of Members

The Camp Bowen logo, a stylized depiction of the steam locomotive bell that serves as Camp Bowen's dinner bell with the words Camp Bowen around the rim.

Come join us at our Annual Meeting of Members (the term we’re now using for Annual General Meetings) to find out what the Camp Bowen Society for the Independence of the Blind and Deafblind has accomplished this past year and what we have planned going forward. Some other highlights of the agenda include a very special announcement regarding our Music Camp program and the passing of society By-Laws.

As usual, there will be the option of participating via teleconference. We will be holding the physical meeting on Bowen Island this year in the Board Room at First Credit Union (106-996 Dorman Road, Bowen Island, BC). If you plan on attending in person, please call us at: +1 (604) 947-0021, extension 102 ahead of time so we can make sure to set up the room accordingly. Directions and teleconferencing details will follow the agenda.

The Above in Legal Speak

Notice is hereby given of the Camp Bowen Society for the Independence of the Blind and Deafblind’s Annual Meeting of Members to be held in the Board room at First Credit Union (106-996 Dorman Road, Bowen Island, BC) on September 17, 2019 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM Pacific.

Agenda


Camp Bowen Society for the Independence of the Blind and Deafblind

Annual Meeting of Members

Agenda for September 17, 2019

  1. 1. Call to Order
  2. 2. Approval of Agenda
  3. 3. Looking Back Report
  4. 4. Financial Report

    Motion: That the Camp Bowen Society for the Independence of the Blind and Deafblind’s financial report for the 2018 to 2019 fiscal year be approved.

  5. 5. Voting
    1. 5.1. President
    2. 5.2. 2ND Vice President
    3. 5.3. Secretary
    4. 5.4. Director At Large
    5. 5.5. Treasurer
  6. 6. By-Laws
    1. 6.1. By-Law #1

      Motion:
      Whereas the Canadian Not For Profit (NFP) Act requires the membership of a corporation to pass ByLaws of the Corporation; and
      Whereas the Camp Bowen Society for the Independence of the Blind and Deafblind is governed by the Canadian Not For Profit (NFP) Act;
      Be it resolved that By-Law #1 of the Camp Bowen Society for the Independence of the Blind and Deafblind be adopted by the Corporation’s membership.

  7. 7. Special Announcement for the Music Camp Program
  8. 8. Going Forward Report
  9. 9. Adjournment

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


Teleconferencing Details

To join the meeting via teleconference, call:

Metro Vancouver/Long-Distance Subscribers: +1 (604) 947-0021 and dial 6

Toll-Free: +1 (844) MYBOWEN (692-6936) and dial 6

Smart Phone Links

If on a smartphone, simply tap the below links to be connected to the meeting:

Metro Vancouver/Long-Distance Subscribers: +16049470021,6

Toll-Free: +18446926936,6

Directions

Board Room
First Credit Union
106-996 Dorman Road
Bowen Island BC
V0N 1G0

When coming off the ferry onto Bowen Island, follow Bowen Island Trunk Road to the first 4-way intersection. Dorman Road is on the left-hand side of this intersection. The credit union is on the far left corner of the intersection and is the first door on Dorman Road.

Questions, Concerns or Assistance

If you have any questions or concerns or require assistance to get to the meeting, please let us know by phone at: +1 (604) 947-0021. Alternately, use any method on our contact page.

Reminder: Deadline Approaching on July 15 for Registration to Music Camp 2019 for BC Youth Ages 8 to 18

Alex Jurgensen and Matthew Alvernaz stand, facing the camera. Matthew is holding his Saxophone with Alex in the background.

From left to right: Alex Jurgensen (16) and Matthew Alvernaz (13), two friends who met at Camp Bowen. Photo by Stuart Davis for the Vancouver Sun

As summer gets into full swing, bringing with it long days and nice weather, we’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that the new deadline to register for Camp Bowens Music Camp 2019 for Blind, Deafblind, and Low Vision BC Youth Ages 8 to 18 is fast approaching. The last day to register is July 15, 2019, under two weeks away. Campers will be accommodated on a first come first serve basis. After July 15, we will potentially have space for more campers but it is important that we know how many campers are coming as soon as possible to finalize numbers and pass final counts to our activity providers.

As always, our full camp details can be found at the following links: Web Version and :Printable/Downloadable PDF. We also now have a FAQ section that can be accessed here.

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please direct them to our camp coordinator, Alex Jurgensen at +1 (778) 512-4721 or by reaching out to us by any of these methods.

Thank you in advance for helping us make sure all blind, Deafblind, and low vision BC youth ages 8 to 18.

Important: Music Camp 2019 – Change of Age Requirements, Camp Costs, and a Note to Those Who May Be Experiencing Trouble Registering

Alex Jurgensen and Matthew Alvernaz stand, facing the camera. Matthew is holding his Saxophone with Alex in the background.

From left to right: Alex Jurgensen (16) and Matthew Alvernaz (13), two friends who met at Camp Bowen. Photo by Stuart Davis for the Vancouver Sun

Hello Everyone,

Summer is just around the corner and the preparations for another camping season at Camp Bowen are underway. Registrations, finalization of details, and a host of other tasks are on the go to ensure everyone will have a fun and rewarding experience at camp.

Today, we are very excited to announce that we are making some positive changes to Camp Bowen’s Music Camp 2019 program.

In response to inquiries about the ages of campers permitted to participate in the program, we have decided to drop the minimum age requirement to 8, making the age range 8 to 18. In the past, this camp has been popular with campers as young as 8 and we are excited to welcome campers from across the age range.

The second change we are making is to our camp costs. Thanks to an anonymous donor, all camp fees have been covered. Anyone who has already registered has not been charged for the camp fees and any future registrations will likewise be accepted free of charge.

Finally, if anyone has had difficulty in registering or has not yet received confirmation of their spot, please get them to call me directly at: +1 (778) 512-4721.

Please note: If you haven’t registered yet, there’s still time. Simply go here.

The updates above are reflected in our updated information, which can be found at the below links: Web Version and the Printable/Downloadable (PDF) Version.

Please note: For vision teachers and other service providers, the PDF version above is specially formatted for printing and should be used when sending hardcopy information home to families.

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please feel free to call me at: +1 (778) 512-4721.

Warm Regards,
Alex and the Camp Bowen Team

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/