Boat ride's a thrill for visually impaired kids

Published online: Aug 11, 2011 News Steve Fondo - The Times
Viewed 221 time(s)

Laughter and excitement were evident on the faces of the children donning life jackets as they boarded the pontoon boats at the Harveys Lake Yacht Club on Tuesday for a special outing of Camp Sight.

Camp Sight was started six years ago as a joint effort of Community Services for Sight and The Association for the Blind as a way to allow visually impaired children to "socialize and get acquainted with each other."

"Camp Sight is a place where our children can come to learn to be independent, productive members of society," explained Lori Lesante, CEO of Community Services for Sight in Hazleton.

Of the 19 children attending Camp Sight this year, 17 attended the outing.

"I wanted to do something to help visually impaired kids," said Yacht Club member and event founder Glenn Davis.

"So I talked to a few of my friends who owned pontoon boats, and we put this event together."

Davis, a retired Wilkes-Barre Area School District reading specialist who is writing a children's book with a blind main character, approached Lesante with his idea.

"She immediately loved it and put her full support behind the effort," said Davis.

"Just seeing the smiling faces of these kids when they board the boat makes this worthwhile. It's amazing. The kids love this experience."

Picnic tables piled high with food and refreshments greeted the hungry boaters when they returned from their lake cruise.

"It's overwhelming to see how these children relate to and support each other," Lesante said. "They help one another in ways we never could. The socialization is an invaluable experience."

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