Camp Is Important For Visually Impaired Kids

If somebody didn't point it out to you, you might not know that the happy, singing kids at the Sea and Sun Camp can't see very well. They play games, laugh, and enjoy outdoor activities just like any other kid.

"Every year, we get to do all kinds of stuff, like this year, we went to this pool," said 12 year old Mobile student Justin Hale. "It was an olympic-sized pool and we got to go swimming in it and we got to go to the beach."

11 year old Timothy Wilkes agreed that the camp offered a lot of fun activities.

"We went on a shrimp boat, we went swimming, we went to the beach," Wilkes said.

The only difference here is that the kids are visually impaired and that means they need a little extra supervision. Experts say there are few camps on the coast that are able to cater to visually impaired children. And that's why the Biloxi Lions Club decided to fund the camp four years ago.

"We started it because we felt there was a need for them to have the opportunity to get together with their peers who are also blind and visually impaired and have similar experiences to what they have," said camp chairman Nancy Ann Sherman.

The campers say being around kids just like themselves is pretty important.

"It's fun," said Hale. "There's a lot of nice people out here. Nobody picks on you and nobody will really make fun of you at all."

The camp is for kids ages five to twelve from all across Mississippi and the Mobile area. Organizers say they hope some day to have the funds to expand the program, so teenagers can also participate. Many campers say they're hoping for that, too.

"It's cool and we have a lot of fun and I really like it here and I'm coming back next year," said nine year old Breanna Breedlove.

The Sea and Sun camp is free for the kids who participate. The Mississippi Lions Club picks up the four thousand dollar tab for the weekend.