Pierryae is an outgoing 11-year-old with knowledge beyond his years. His mother, Alana, describes her son as “funny and unique. He stands out from the crowd.” But even Pierryae had hesitations and doubts that he overcame at Camp Bloomfield.
“I had doubts about Camp Bloomfield because it was the first time Pierryae would be away from home,” says Alana. “A lot of times, we shelter them so they are not so independent. Camp Bloomfield gives us the security to let them go a little bit more.”
The enriching experience at Camp Bloomfield is funded 100% by friends like you! Please make your best gift now so that more children like Pierryae can gain empowering skills… and get rid of “I can’t.”
Pierryae was born blind due to an underdeveloped optic nerve, known as optic nerve hypoplasia. Alana realized Pierryae could not see when he was 2 months old, and she immediately had him diagnosed and enrolled in early intervention services. Before Camp Bloomfield, Pierryae was more comfortable at home, where he loves listening to music and watching courtroom shows.
Typical summer camp activities that many sighted children approach with joy can be scary for a child who cannot see. If I run, will I trip and fall? If I swim, how far away is the side of the pool?
Pierryae was no exception. Although he jumped at the chance to go to camp, he hesitated when faced with new sports. “Camp Bloomfield staff showed him that you need to try it out and see if you can handle it first, instead of always assuming that you can’t do it,” says Alana.
As he began to trust his abilities, Pierryae tried a lot of activities! Archery, music, horseshoes, track and field, swimming, horseback riding. He discovered that he loved horseback riding. “At first I was scared to do track and field because one time I fell,” says Pierryae. “I liked how people at camp told me to ‘get rid of the word can’t.’ Yes, I got rid of ‘I can’t.’ Now I hold onto a ring and run.” He even gained confidence to let go of the side of the pool and swim by himself.
Camp Bloomfield helped Pierryae overcome the limitations he thought he had. “He’s always had a problem with letting go and letting it happen,” says Alana. “Camp Bloomfield and Wayfinder have literally showed him how to have fun.” Now his confidence and zest for adventure match his infectious personality.
Pierryae returned from his first trip to Camp Bloomfield with many stories about the fun he had. Alana decided that she and Pierryae’s younger brother and sister would go with him to Family Camp the next year. “I wanted his brother and sister to go into Pierryae’s world,” says Alana.
At Camp Bloomfield, the family had a great time. “We did everything,” says Alana. “Camp Bloomfield said you don’t have to do everything—just do whatever activities you want. But I wanted the kids to experience everything.”
Alana also sees the impact Camp Bloomfield had on Pierryae’s brother and sister. “They got excited because he was doing the same things that they were doing,” Alana says. “Now they think they can go to more places with Pierryae, and he can have as much fun as they have.”
Pierryae and his family can’t wait to go back to Camp Bloomfield again. “I’m definitely going this year,” says Pierryae. “I hope I get to ride horses again. I hope I get to learn more things.”
For 60 years, Camp Bloomfield, in the Santa Monica Mountains, has provided these life-changing experiences to blind children—at no charge to our campers. Your donation keeps this legacy of achievement and independence alive for a new generation of children. Please consider the gift of camp today!
March 9, 2018