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.
Tag Archive for Peg Mercer
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired was at Bowfest on Bowen Island on Saturday, August 26. Peg, Jessica, Jocelyn, and Alex were on site to run our two booths and interact with the Bowen Island community. At one booth, the society sold Braille puzzle books that challenged sighted people to decode the Braille messages. We also sold customized Braille bookmarks. At our other booth, Bowfest attendees had a chance to try Showdown, a sport for the blind similar to air hockey and table tennis, that was developed right here in BC by two blind men. Thanks to the Bowfest committee and all the volunteers who helped make the day a success. We look forward to returning next year.
On Saturday, we had our White Cane Week themed fundraiser at Doc Morgan’s on Bowen Island. Members of the community came out to join us for an evening of live jazz music from Bowen’s own talented Teun Schut Trio, a live auction, and a 50/50 draw. Our door prize, which was one of our new Camp Bowen mugs, was popular. It was lucky we had a second one for the auction. Our banner was on display for the first time.
Thanks to everyone who came out to support us. We would also like to thank Doc Morgan’s for hosting us and providing meals for the band. We would furthermore like to thank the Ruddy Potato, Cocoa West Chocolatier, and the anonymous donors who generously donated items to our auction. We couldn’t do the work we do without your support.
Our sing-along ended with “Good Night Irene”.
A discussion about eyes leads into us singing “The Corner Master’s Store”.
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”.
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.
Here is a video of some of us singing John Denver’s “Country Roads”.
And here’s part 2 of us singing “Country Roads”.
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”.