My Visual Journal

Exclusive content! Broward Lighthouse ropes course

Dania Beach, 7/1/11 -- Giselle Caamal climbs the Tigertail Lake Center ropes course in Dania Beach. Camaal is blind and she participates in the Broward Lighthouse summer camp, a training camp for blind and visually impaired students. The camp went to the ropes course for the first fun Friday of their 6-week camp. Each Friday, the students are treated to special activities like Busch Gardens and a waterpark. The free camp helps the students adapt to their lack of sight and become independent: teaching them about food preparation, who to ask for personal shoppers at grocery stores and how to navigate bus transportation. Lindsay Brown/South Florida Sun Sentinel

Dania Beach, 7/1/11 -- Kiera Dashony climbs the Tigertail Lake Center ropes course in Dania Beach. Dashony participates in the Broward Lighthouse summer camp, a training camp for blind and visually impaired students. The camp went to the ropes course for the first fun Friday of their 6-week camp. Each Friday, the students are treated to special activities like Busch Gardens and a waterpark. The free camp helps the students adapt to their lack of sight and become independent: teaching them about food preparation, who to ask for personal shoppers at grocery stores and how to navigate bus transportation. Lindsay Brown/South Florida Sun Sentinel

Broward Lighthouse program gives visually impaired students life skills

By Lindsay Brown
Sun Sentinel

Rope courses are daunting for most, but not for the visually impaired students of the Broward Lighthouse summer program.

“It’s not really that scary. It would be for someone who could see,” said Ross Minor, 13, a student in the program. “We can’t see how high up we are.”

The Broward Lighthouse transition summer camp went to the Tigertail Lake Center ropes course in Dania Beach on Friday. The camp prepares visually impaired youth for independent living, college and work.

Transition specialist Samantha Groth thinks experiences like the rope course are especially important for visually impaired students.

“Definitely this is more important than [for] the typical student, because they haven’t had the same experience,” Groth said. “Lots of times people assume that a student can’t do something because they are blind or visually impaired and here we know that they can do it.”

Participants like Alexa Hand, said she agrees with Groth, and thinks the Lighthouse summer camp offers something unique.

“I love Lighthouse because I get to do things here I wouldn’t be able to do anywhere else,” Alexa said.

The six-week Lighthouse summer camp, based in Fort Lauderdale, teaches work skills at the Westin hotel on State Road A1A in Fort Lauderdale, tours local college campuses and teaches skills needed for independence like grocery shopping and filling out job applications.

“We learn new stuff,” said Christopher Paul, 16, said. “To know how to get around on a city bus … and know how to cook because in your own house you will be independent.”

The camp is free to approved applicants and is funded by individual donations and the Florida Division of Blind Services.

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