Tag Archive for Matthew Alvernaz

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.

Adult Camp 2016 Sing-Along – Good Night Irene

Our sing-along ended with “Good Night Irene”.

Adult Camp 2016 Sing-Along – The Corner Master’s Store

A discussion about eyes leads into us singing “The Corner Master’s Store”.

Adult Camp 2016 Sing-Along – Down By The Bay

We sang another camp favourite, “Down By The Bay”. In true Camp Bowen style, we came up with verses for each camper.

And here is us coming up with more verses for “Down By The Bay”.

Adult Camp 2016 Sing-Along – The Camp Bowen Song

This is where the sing-along really got started. Some of the younger campers, led by Peg on guitar, introduced Adult Camp to the Camp Bowen Song, which was traditionally played at child and youth camps. Partway through, Danielle came out and joined us.

Here are more verses for the Camp Bowen Song, including a new one from Peg.

Liz, a nurse by profession, had another idea for the verse about the nurse.

Adult Camp 2016 Sing-Along – Country Roads

Here is a video of some of us singing John Denver’s “Country Roads”.

And here’s part 2 of us singing “Country Roads”.

Adult Camp 2016 Sing-Along – Fire & Rain

On Thursday night, we had a campfire and sing-along on the patio. Here’s a clip of a few of us singing James Taylor’s “Fire & Rain”.

Young Adult and Adult Camp Group Photo

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

On the morning of Thursday, August 11, everyone gathered on the patio for a group photo. This photo was taken by Lorraine Ashdown from Bowen Island.

Pictured in the photo are Alex, Byron, Clement, Danielle, Donna, Jessica, Jocelyn, Matthew, Monica (with guide dog Ash), Nelson, Owen, Peg, Roi, Salvatore, and Vera.

CNIB Shut­ters Camp for Blind Chil­dren, Cit­ing “Fi­nan­cial Chal­lenges”

Source: Vancouver Sun

BY DENISE RYAN

STUART DAVIS/ VANCOUVER SUN

Surrey residents Alex Jurgensen, 16 ( left), and Matthew Alvernaz, 13. The two friends met at Bowen Island Lodge summer camp three years ago, but the CNIB-run camp is closing.

For Matthew Alvernaz, the world is about to become a little smaller. The 13-year-old, blind since birth, has just learned that the CNIB’s summer camp programs for kids at Bowen Island Lodge will be shut down due to funding shortfalls.

“It’s hard to explain how I really feel — it’s bad,” said Matthew.

His mother Tracy Alvernaz said that since Matthew was a toddler, the summers on Bowen have meant everything to her son and other blind kids.

” Imagine how difficult it is to fit in as a teenager with a vision problem. Bowen Island brought the normalcy of being a teenager to these kids. They didn’t have to try and fit in, they could just be themselves.”

The Bowen Island Lodge summer camp for the visually impaired offered programs for families, children, and youth that included opportunities for outdoor adventures, arts, peer support and transition to independent living.

Families were shocked to receive a letter last Friday from the CNIB, an advocacy and support organization for the visually impaired, announcing the closure.

Alvernaz said her son has gained independence, confidence, life and social skills through the camp, and the most precious gift of all: friends.

” I was livid when I heard. I was angry,” said Matthew’s friend, Clement Chou, 16, who lost his vision at the age of three due to a genetic condition.

Every summer the Bowen Island camp gives him a break from the stresses of fitting in with ” sighted” kids.

” In high school there is a whole group mentality — and no group is willing to take in a blind kid. The best part about Bowen is being included in a group, being able to express your thoughts, and just be yourself.”

” In high school there is a whole group mentality — and no group is willing to take in a blind kid. The best part about Bowen is being included in a group, being able to express your thoughts, and just be yourself.”

Rob Sleath, CNIB board chair, said the decision was made ” because of unprecedented financial challenges.”

CNIB is slashing in many areas, including library services, research commitments and staff salaries, said Sleath.

The CNIB gets just 10 per cent of its funding from government. The remainder comes from donations and investment income.

” We’re facing a reduction in donations as a result of global economic turndown… Everything took a hit.”

Sleath said the only hope for the camp would be if a private donor stepped forward.

Blind Boy Rocked by Demise of Bowen Island CNIB Camp

Source: Times Colonist

VANCOUVER — For Matthew Alvernaz, the world is about to become a little smaller. The 13-year-old, blind since birth, has just learned that the CNIB’s summer camp programs for kids at Bowen Island Lodge will be shut down due to funding shortfalls.

“It’s hard to explain how I really feel. It’s bad,” said Matthew.

His mother, Tracy Alvernaz, said that since Matthew was a toddler, the summers on Bowen have meant everything to her son and other blind kids.

“Imagine how difficult it is to fit in as a teenager with a vision problem. Bowen Island brought the normalcy of being a teenager to these kids. They didn’t have to try and fit in, they could just be themselves.”

The Bowen Island Lodge summer camp for the visually impaired offered programs for families, children and youth that included opportunities for outdoor adventures, arts, peer support and transition to independent living.

Families were shocked to receive a recent letter from the CNIB announcing the closure.

Rob Sleath, CNIB board chairman, said the decision was made “because of unprecedented financial challenges.”

CNIB is slashing in many areas, including library services, research commitments and staff salaries, Sleath said, adding that the camp’s only hope is that a private donor will step forward.