Blind Lake Norman campers don't take no for an answer

Blind Lake Norman campers don't take no for an answer


by MICHELLE BOUDIN / NewsChannel 36 Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @MichelleBoudin

Posted on July 17, 2012 at 6:11 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 17 at 6:21 PM

LAKE NORMAN, N.C. -- They fish, do arts and crafts, even play miniature golf.

They're adults from across North Carolina spending a week at a summer camp on Lake Norman, and they all share a special bond.
“I’ve met so many people, I don’t even want to go home,” said Susan Bailey as she buckled her life vest. She and about a dozen others are heading out for a boat ride.

The campers are older than what you typically think of for summer camp.

“I’m 98-and-a-half,” Elsa Jennings said.  “I hope I catch something!”

On Monday she was tubing.

“When it started to bounce, that was the best part.  I like to bounce,” she laughs.

There is also arts and crafts, and miniature golf.

Doug Smith has been a camper for 17 years.

“I caught four fish this morning, bowled an 87 and did crafts yesterday,” Smith said.

Smith has been blind since birth.

“You just got to do it.  You can’t let it stop you.  Whatever you want to do you just have to do it,” he added.

All the participants at Camp Dogwood each summer are visually impaired. Some were born blind, some became blind.  None let the impairment stop them.

“Anything is possible here,” Bailey said.

“I was always told to do it.  There was no ‘You can’t do this or anything else,’” Smith noted.

For this one week at summer camp, they truly believe they can do anything. And they do.

“It means the world because I wouldn’t be able to do anything without doing it this way,” said Bailey.
The Camp Dogwood camp for blind adults is the only one of its kind in the country and costs participants just $100 for the week because the Lions Club makes it all happen.