Growing Up at Camp Bloomfield

two happy teens shoring their support for Wayfinder

“Anissa and Emma are growing up with Wayfinder. This year, they got great news.  Camp Bloomfield will be an overnight camp once again this summer! 

“I am beyond words,” says Anissa, age 17.

Her 13-year-old sister, Emma, chimes in, “I am really excited!” 

Anissa and Emma are partially sighted and legally blind. Anissa has central vision but not peripheral or distance vision. Emma has similar vision issues, but hers are more challenging. She uses a white cane when Anissa isn’t guiding her. 

Make a donation and send an encouraging note to a camper. Notes will be read at the campfire!   

The sisters have gone on outdoor adventures like surfing and attended Wayfinder’s Paralympics. But Camp Bloomfield holds a special place in their hearts. Both attended Camp Bloomfield several times at its original location in Malibu before it was destroyed by the Woolsey fire in 2018. They remember evening campfires, spooky stories in the dark, and the close friendships they formed.

Since the fire and pandemic, these dedicated campers have attended virtual Camp Bloomfield and a week of day-camp experiences like ocean swimming and deep-sea fishing. 

“Virtual camp was good,” Anissa says, “but it’s not the same as overnight camp. I think we’re going to make lots more friends and connect with the old ones we haven’t seen in a while.” 

Camp helps Emma because “I get to make new friends who have the same disability as me.” 

Diane, Anissa and Emma’s mother, is grateful for the bonding teens do at camp. “Making friends with kids who have similar disabilities is valuable in building their self-confidence,” says Diane. 

This summer, Camp Bloomfield will be located at Pathfinder Ranch near the San Jacinto Mountains. The ranch will have many of the same activities that campers enjoyed for decades at the Malibu site. 

This year, Anissa is going to try archery. It seems like fun to her. “And the shot put because I’m good at throwing things long distances,” she says. Anissa plans to go to art school to become an art therapist, so arts and crafts is her favorite camp activity. 

Emma is looking forward to staying up late, horseback riding—she loves horses—and sleeping in a bunk bed. Emma calls dibs on the top bunk! 

Wayfinder staff have gotten to know Anissa and Emma over the years. Anissa is a leader who wants to help others. Last year, staff invited her to assist with the younger campers. Seeing the campers’ excitement at new experiences meant even more to Anissa than her own camp adventures. So, this summer, Anissa wants to be a trainee counselor. 

Emma is a carefree soul who loves life and interacting with people. “Emma is going to be so happy to be back at camp,” Anissa says. 

Both girls have really missed evening campfires and the lighthearted awards given at the end of the camp sessions. Because Emma is so active, she has received many awards. “She got the Hugger award, Nature Hike award, the Go Pro because she is always doing something, and the Curious Caterpillar award,” Anissa reports.

The excitement is building for our campers with disabilities. After a day of fun activities, they will sit around a crackling campfire, alongside new friends, with stars overhead. Anissa and Emma couldn’t ask for a more perfect day.

UPDATE: Anissa and Emma attended the youth camp session recently and tried many new activities. Anissa did so well in assisting her fellow campers that she was promoted to Counselor In Training and will be eligible to be a camp counselor next year!


Make a donation and send an encouraging note to a camper. Notes will be read at the campfire!   

Your gift will ensure that campers like Anissa and Emma can continue to learn and grow at Camp Bloomfield.

May 25, 2022