For children at the Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired
, Discovery Youth Summer Day Camps allow them to further their own skills and knowledge while also bettering the community.
From technology and art activities to life skills and neighborhood involvement, campers can engage their senses while tapping into areas that they might not have otherwise had the opportunity to explore.
Participants at art camp, which ended this past week, have no vision, limited vision or are losing their vision. They created pieces that sparked dialogue about what it means to be part of a larger community. One project involved the campers creating wind chimes made of cat and dog clay cutouts. The kids then donated them to the SPCA of Cincinnati
“They enjoyed it, but it was very sad,” Art Instructor Scott Wallace says of the children’s visit to the SPCA. “It gave me an opportunity to go into this whole thing about art in terms of how some of the greatest art is not the world’s prettiest, and some art talks about issues and things that are going on and some things that are not great, so it gave us the chance to talk about what’s important.”
Campers also worked together to create a colorful heart made from recycled bottle caps—which can be dangerous if left as trash—as a statement about healthy communities.
“What’s happening is—wild birds are eating them—and they can’t digest them,” Wallace says. “So it’s killing them. It’s so much about recycling. You can take the most insignificant material and make great art.”
Two of the children who worked to create the bottle piece project are totally blind, but by working together with other campers, they were able to create a beautiful display. It's what Wallace enjoys the most because he’s not so much an instructor as he is a facilitator.
“For people who have never had vision—their approach is totally different—because they have a certain way of working and a certain level of expectation for their work, and they’re completely cool with it,” Wallace says. “The blind community and the people who’ve never had vision are fine. I think they get tired of us trying to instill our beliefs, but what I like to do is make the best of the vision they have left. And I just sit back and let them do their thing, but it really shows what community can do.”
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By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a teacher at the Regional Institute of Torah and Secular Studies. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.