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NewView Oklahoma ready for 14th Oklahomans Without Limits youth camp

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An OWL Camper and her buddy enjoy a break in the shade at OWL Camp 2013
  • An OWL Camper and her buddy enjoy a break in the shade at OWL Camp 2013

Ah, summer camp, a chance to be away from the parents and school, make new friends and maybe learn something. There’s a special opportunity for blind and visually impaired children in Oklahoma to do just that.

Oklahomans Without Limits Camp, or OWL Camp, is a project of NewView Oklahoma. NewView is a 501c3 nonprofit that has history in Oklahoma dating back to 1949. They have hosted OWL Camp since 2000.

This year, the campers will visit Oklahoma City Museum of Art (OKCMOA) and Science Museum Oklahoma (SMO), go swimming at Oklahoma City Community College and enjoy a foam party. Residents and counselors will stay on campus at the University of Central Oklahoma. The camp runs July 21-15.

The theme of this year’s camp is music, and the camp is partnering with Oklahoma Youth Orchestras. Twenty members of the orchestra staff will host workshops so campers can test their music skills.

Josh DeLozier is the communications and marketing director for NewView and is helping coordinate the camp.

“We have kids who attend the camp from ages 8-18 who have some kind of visual impairment, and then counselors who are high school or college-age who help facilitate the activities with the campers. It’s a nice opportunity to get in there and interact,” he said.

Hayley Moore is NewView’s development director. She has been integral to the planning and logistics of all the activities for the campers. A lot of her coordination efforts are working with partners to ensure the campers have a fun and safe time. She’s not new to these particular challenges, and she says the partnering facilities like SMO and OKCMOA are wonderful.

“A lot of the time, the sighted kids come away with more of a lesson,” Moore said. “[The campers] are more than just [children] with vision loss; they like the same things, the same music and movies ... they have that experience.”

She is especially proud that they take that experience and talk about it. When kids are getting picked on for any perceived difference, the other kids advocate for them because it’s personal. The camp turns into a chance for kids — both with disabilities and without — to see each other as more than their abilities or challenges.

“We have this one returning camper,” Moore said, “and he put it perfectly: ‘You learn that everyone has their abilities and that’s what makes them them.’”

For Moore, that sums up the OWL Camp experience for every camper. The camp culminates in a carnival at which donors, sponsors and staff get together to celebrate another week of OWL Camp. They have inflatables, games and activities for the kids.

NewView does many things year- round for Oklahomans living with visual impairment or blindness, but OWL Camp is something special.

“This is my first year at OWL Camp, but everybody’s super excited around here this time of year,” DeLozier said.

To find out more about what NewView Oklahoma does, visit newviewoklahoma.org.

OWL Campers and their counselors on University of Central Oklahoma campus, 2013
  • OWL Campers and their counselors on University of Central Oklahoma campus, 2013

Print headline: OWL you need is camp, NewView Oklahoma is getting ready for its 14th annual Oklahomans Without Limits for blind and visually impaired kids.

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