Friday, 02 August 2019 11:36

Camp Abilities Saratoga: Another Year of Continuing Vision

Photos provided.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Camp Abilities is back for its sixth year conducting a weeklong overnight sports camp for blind, visually impaired and deaf-blind children and teens. 
For one week, 25 kids between the ages of 10 to 18 will dorm at Skidmore College where they will get a chance to learn and enhance athletic skills by engaging in sports with adaptive equipment and guided instruction. 
“The whole idea and the whole aspect is to make that one week as special as we can for the campers. It’s a big impact. They’re spending time on a college campus, lots of times it’s their first time away from their it’s a chance for them to be somewhat independent. Build their self-confidence, their self-esteem. “ Said John McDonald, Camp Abilities Saratoga President. 
While Camp Abilities of Saratoga is one of 26 Camp Abilities in the world, it is the only one that is run by a Lions organization, which aids in the fundraising and organization of the camp. Camp Abilities is completely free for its campers, and the counselors, who are graduate and undergraduate students studying adaptive sports technology and education, participate as a form of service, only for a moderate stipend. 
At the camp, the kids are able to engage in sports that they wouldn’t normally such as bike riding – where they ride behind a counselor on a tandem bike, and baseball, where both the balls and the bases beep for assistance. Each camper works closely with their sports specialist and counselors throughout the camp, as they are each assigned a counselor for the duration of the camp.  
“They develop a rapport working with each other. It’s just building that confidence and working with them, but while being there to support them and provide them guidance while also giving them enough free reign to get that independence,” said McDonald. 
This years’ camp does have some new highlights including the opening ceremony speaker, Kevin Stanley. Shanley is a SUNY New Paltz Professor and a co-founder of the NY Nightshade – Hockey for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Shanley is also USA Hockey’s Blind Hockey Representative. Shanley will also accompany the campers to their day at the ice rink. Additionally, the campers will spend some time at the Ninja Lab in Malta. 
Donation and fundraising opportunities to support the Camp Abilities Saratoga are available all year. For further information visit
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