“Audrey is very brave. I believe it took incredible courage for Audrey to attend Camp Bloomfield,” says Mark Lucas, Wayfinder camp director.
Audrey, age 15, had lost much of her vision only nine months before she arrived at camp. Doctors had removed a brain tumor that was pressing on her optic nerve. Post-surgery, she has a small circle of vision, without top, bottom or peripheral sight.
Unfortunately, she also lost friends. “People didn’t know what to say to me,” Audrey remembers. She was excited about coming to camp because, “I wanted to get to know more people who have a commonality with me. I’m a really social person, and I was missing my social life.”
Audrey made her first friend on the bus to Camp Bloomfield, then connected with even more new friends on her first day. On the second day, she began to have vision episodes—she was seeing a bright light like the sun in her eyes, which reduced her vision.
“I was getting worried,” Audrey remembers. “I wasn’t used to the episodes and I was away from home. I wanted to stay at camp, but I also wanted to be home in my bed.” She decided she would go home.
Mark and Sierra, a camp counselor, talked to Audrey about her options. Maybe it would be better to stay with her peers who were going through similar things. Audrey says, “Then Sierra suggested that, since I was worried about being able to see during activities, I could string beads to make bracelets instead.” Sierra suggested this activity because Audrey could use her sense of touch instead of vision to string the beads. Audrey realized, “I wouldn’t have to worry about not being able to see while I was making bracelets.”
Like a true Wayfinder, Audrey forged ahead! She decided to stay at camp.
The rest of the week was a great experience for Audrey. She opened up to her fellow campers about her struggles and listened empathetically to their personal stories. They became good friends.
To maintain their connection after camp, Audrey and her friends created a group chat. “We don’t talk daily,” she says, “but we talk quite often, so that is really nice.”
“I had a wonderful time,” she says. “Camp was filled with positivity. I got to hang around with great people and do fun activities. I plan on coming back every year.”
DID YOU KNOW?
Families in Wayfinder programs were some of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
Nearly all our clients are in highrisk groups for health, economic and educational hardship. The pandemic worsened these disparities for Wayfinder children and families. Wayfinder is committed to standing beside them as our clients work hard to regain what they lost in the pandemic. Make a donation now!
September 30, 2022