Camp Abilities - 'A loss of Sight never a loss of Vision'

Group at FAI Session at Aura Leisure Centre Camp Abilities was held in Killarney from the 5th-8th April. CAMPABILITIES camps run in 12 locations in the United States each Summer and the camp in Killarney was the first one of its kind in Europe. The camp is a sports development camp for children who are blind or have a vision impairment and the original concept came about in a effort to combat the sedentary lifestyles of children with vision impairment and to allow an opportunity for experiencing new sports and activities. The camp also provides valuable training for Institute of Technology Health and Leisure and national Learning Network Sporting Chance students on how to cater for the needs of someone with vision impairment. 

CAMPABILITIES 2010 was organised by The CARA National Adapted Physical Activity Centre and the Institute of Technology Tralee, in Grace Kearney and Kingdom Archers Coach association with the National Council for the Blind, the National Learning Network (Sporting Chance Programme) and the Kerry Local Sports Partnership.

During the 4-day camp, the campers (who travelled from various parts of Munster) participated in a range of sport and recreational activities such as archery, adventure, dance, swimming, beep baseball, goalball, soccer, rowing, fishing and much more. Both camp staff and campers stayed at Arthur Vincent House in Killarney National Park and the Lakelands Cottages Killarney donated one of their cottages for use by the additional camp staff.  The main base for all activities was St Brendans College with the use of Killarney Sport and Leisure Centre for the Robert Boyle and Cathal O'Grady swimming and the soccer activities.

A unique aspect of this camp is the level of community involvement in the running of the activities.  Along with introducing the campers to various sports and recreational activities, CampAbilities Ireland aims to educate local clubs and groups on the inclusion of children with vision impairments within their clubs/groups. 

The following clubs/individuals assisted with the facilitation of activities at the camp: Kingdom Green Sox Baseball Club, Kingdom Archers, IT Tralee Health and Leisure Lecturers, Nick Harrison of the FAI, Flesk Valley Rowing Club, Killarney Salmon and Trout Angling Club and Fossa Scouts group. Kerry Civil Defence assisting with all the first aid elements of the camp and four local jarvey's provided the transport from Flesk rowing club to St Brendanâ¿¿s on the last day. Donal Ahern and Beep Baseball Coach

The closing ceremony beside St Mary's cathedral involved an all-camp drumming circle facilitate by Urs Wenk, Drum Dance Ireland which was followed by medal presentation (sponsored by Murphy's Sports Castleisland) for the beep baseball tournament.

CampAbilities Ireland was captured by RTEs Nationwide and will be aired during the month of June.  The CampAbilities Ireland organising committee would like to say a huge Thank You to all who have been involved in the camp developments and those who took part in the fundraising. Contributors included: Michael Scanlon Videographer, Renault Ireland, Killarney National Park; Lakelands Cottages Killarney, St Brendans College Killarney (especially James and Johnny), Killarney Sport and Leisure Centre;  Kingdom Green Sox Baseball Club, Kingdom Archers, Sharon Phelan ITT, Nick Harrison FAI, Flesk Valley Rowing Club, Killarney Salmon and Trout Angling Club, Fossa Scouts group, Patrick Hennessey and Deidre O'Brien Kerry Civil Defence, CH Chemist Tralee,  Kerry Spring, Tesco Deerpark,Dr Gary Stack Killarney, Daly's SuperValu, Killarney Jarveys, Seamus Kelly and his guide dog Ike, Cian O'Driscoll Play at Height, Kathleen Finn, Deirdre O'Brien, Angela Keane, Drum Dance Ireland, Vincent Murphy Sports Castleisland, Kerry Stars Special Olympics (especially Denis), Killarney rotary club, Garda Brendan O'Donovan, Adam's Renault Tralee.

For more information contact Ursula Barrett email: Ursula.barrett@staff.ittralee.ie  or Niamh Daffy CARA APA Centre email: Niamh.daffy@staff.ittralee.ie