In January, 22 Blind Foundation clients, between 8-14 years of age, attended the week-long annual Taupo Summer Camp. Nine young adult Blind Foundation clients supported the group as mentors and junior leaders.

The annual Taupo camp is filled with fun and exciting activities in a great location; it is also a huge opportunity for growth.

It can be intimidating going to a large camp without a familiar support system, especially as it was some Blind Foundation clients’ first time away from home. However, with the help of the leaders, any inhibitions didn’t last long as the kids’ skills, confidence and independence grew exponentially.

The mentors and junior leaders had once attended the Camp as participants themselves.  They have since transitioned to leadership positions so they that can help the younger clients have the same great experience they had.

The nine young leaders who attended the Camp were essential to its success as they ensured that campers were doing the right things, were safe and had fun.

Hana Bainbridge is one leader who attended this year. It was through getting involved in the Leadership Camp, held by the Blind Foundation every couple of years, that Hana made the transition from participant to leader.

“My favourite part of being a leader was getting to see the campers enjoying the camp and getting to catch up with the other leaders.  Being at the camp provided a sense of belonging,” said Hana.

The leadership skills that Hana has learnt through the Blind Foundation have helped her in other aspects of her life, “being a leader in the Taupo Summer Camp helped mebecome a school leader in my last year of high school.”

Having the opportunity to attend as leaders keeps Blind Foundation clients involved after they are too old to attend as participants. Their knowledge and experience of the camps makes them experts on the event and ensures all involved have a great time.

The Camp was enjoyed by all who attended with some already looking forward to next year.