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Trek Tech Camp for Visually Impaired Teaches Technology and Confidence with Ropes Course

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CRAWFORD COUNTY, KANSAS -


          The 4th Annual Trek Tech Camp uses assistive technology and a high ropes course to help the visually impaired.

It’s underway now at the the Greenbush Retreat Center in Crawford County, Kansas where some very different lessons are learned away from computers and i-pads. 
         

Camper Zane Lovelady worked his way up a rope ladder to a rock wall that dangled in the air. Getting cues from handlers below or feeling his way. Zane has a degenerative disorder so he's gradually losing his eyesight. He and fifteen others at Trek Tech Camp are visually impaired.


Zane said, "It’s about pushing yourself. I think and um really seeing where your limits are."

Communication skills are a big part of the rope ladder and wall climb but all of the course challenges incorporate a level of trust. One that was put to the test for Zane.    He explained, "I was falling through the air there for a second. They caught me. It was really quick."

Macy James said, “It’s kind of terrifying. But awesome!  When you get to the top, you get the best feeling."

Macy said  the ropes course shows people what those who are visually impaired can do.

She said, "I think it’s a real confidence booster, something that tells you, you can do it. You get a chance to do things you wouldn’t get to do otherwise. Cause people think blind people  can’t necessarily do everything, but they can."

But Zane says there’s a flip side to that lesson.
“I think that advocating for yourself is really important. Being able to say when you need help.  I mean doing things for  yourself as much as possible but  you know,  even if it’s you know, asking for something to help do your  job better."

Calvin Churchwell, who coordinates the camp for the Midwest Low Vision Technology Center agreed, "A true sign of independence is asking when you know you need help. We all have  to have help.  I have to have help to run this camp." He said visually impaired people are sometimes reluctant to ask for help because they don’t want to seem dependent. So they are working on that at the camp.

Despite his earlier fall, Zane climbed a pole, stood on top  and  took the leap of faith.

He said, "I think there’s a difference between living and just like being alive. And you know,  for anyone, whether you have a disability or not,  living is important. And just getting out doing things like this is uh,  important for that."
 
C
hurchwell has ten volunteers, sponsors and holds fundraisers so the camp is free to participants.


 

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