Noelle Walker

‘Camp Ability' Teaches Visually Impaired Children Sporting and Life Skills

Looking at a rock wall at a gym, and thinking about getting to the top, can be daunting for many people. Imagine if you couldn't see the wall, or could see only parts of it.

"Being blind is my super power," said 13-year old Maddie White, after she conquered the rock wall at Texas Women's University. White was attending Camp Ability, a sports camp is for visually impaired children aged nine to 18. It's a collaboration between Denton ISD and Texas Women's University. The coaches are volunteers, all of them kinesiology graduate and undergraduate students. 

"If you work hard and then you don't do anything or you, like, give up, you literally just wasted all your time that you spent working hard," White said. "I had to work hard to learn how to use my cane. I had to work hard to read braille. And that all pays off. I can travel with my cane like a boss!"

The camp exposes kids to rock climbing, swimming, gymnastics, and other physical fitness activities while learning skills to help them cope in life.

"I hope they leave here with confidence, with knowledge that they can do anything they want to do," said Camp Ability Director Lisa Hanson. "Our rule is try everything."

Which is why 12-year-old Tanner Clark tried the rock wall again after he wasn't able to get to the top on previous tries. The last try, he did.

"Getting to the top felt like a big accomplishment," said Clark, who is partially sighted. "But when I did it, I felt very accomplished and very successful."

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