KINGSTON TWP. — Camp Sight participants Harrison Kolc and Robert Hernandez smiled as Cameron English of CDE Exotics showed a lizard Thursday at The Lands at Hillside Farms.
“It’s pretty cool,” Kolc said. “The tail is long and pretty scaly.”
Kolc, 14, a Wilkes-Barre resident who is legally blind, and Hernandez, 13, a Shavertown resident who has a vision condition called nystagmus, are two of about 15 blind or visually impaired children participating in the two-week day camp called Camp Sight. They spent Thursday at The Lands at Hillside Farms.
Northeast Sight Services and its partner Community Services for Sight hold the camp each year to help blind and visually impaired children learn social and daily living skills and to provide a network of support with their peers living with some of the same challenges.
After getting off a tractor, Kolc enjoyed a reptile show and said he looked forward to interacting with the animals on the farm.
“There’s a lot of things to do instead of just sitting in the house all summer not knowing what to do,” Kolc said. “It gives you more adventure and you can have a lot of friends here.”
Hernandez pet the lizard and interacted with animals on the farm. He said he also enjoys participating in Camp Sight.
“I get to go to different places and have fun with my friends,” he said.
The group partnered with other farm campers at The Lands at Hillside Farms. After the reptile show, they collected chicken eggs, helped with other farm chores, interacted with the animals on the farm and enjoyed ice cream.
Amy Marie Feldman, director of development for Northeast Sight Services, said the camp started Monday and will continue next week. They also went to Camp Kresge in White Haven and will go to Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock on Friday and kayaking on Monday on the Susquehanna River, she said.
“It’s a wonderful experience for them,” Feldman said. “We try to do monthly programs with the kids but I think the two-week camp really gives them the opportunity to bond with each other. It’s difficult for some of these kids who have visual impairments because they could be the only kids with vision loss in their entire schools so getting together with all of these other kids who are going through some of the same struggles really builds that network of support and friendship.”
Exeter resident Christine Granahan enjoyed seeing her 18-year-old daughter Mckenna participate in Camp Sight. Her daughter has Pallister-Killian syndrome, a disorder caused by having an extra chromosome that resulted in vision and hearing impairment, as well as nystagmus, which causes her eyes to make repetitive, uncontrolled movements.
She also enjoyed interacting with the animals at The Lands at Hillside Farms as well as painting and doing arts and crafts at Camp Sight. She has been participating in Camp Sight for years and was looking forward to going to the Dietrich Theater on Friday.
“She gets to be with other kids who have similar issues, interact and learn some better social skills,” Christine Granahan said. “It’s just an all-around fun experience for her.”