The Fulbright Global Scholarship Program

Lauren and two others laying on their stomachs at the top of a large rock. There are green mountains and trees extending far into the distance behind them. They are all wearing rock climbing gears including helmets.

By Lauren Lieberman. One of the best aspects of Camp Abilities is the encouragement and validation we are able to give our campers. Each of the counselors believes – firmly believes – in the ability of each child.  We know that sometimes a child needs a dose of encouragement, a validation of our belief and … Read more

Issues and Education: “Let ‘Em Crash”

An athlete is hovering over the pool water after a jump of the diving board. She is wearing goggles and plugging her nose, preparing to land in the water. There are other athletes and coaches in the water. There is a lifeguard sitting in the lifeguard chair in the background.

By June Converse. Not Really Getting It I’ve been blessed to work with many people in the Camp Abilities World — writing these blogs and participating in a variety of other projects. Along the way, I’ve spoken with many campers, counselors, coaches. I’ve interviewed people who inspired Lauren to start and continue this camp. Parents. … Read more

Issues and Education: Universal Design is an ATTITUDE

Raveena is posing in front of a puppet. She is wearing a tshirt that says "Lead Don't Follow".

By June Converse. Assume People Can “Be conscious of your bias and try to correct them before they become judgments.” ~ Raveena, age 14 Recently we posted an article about Universal Design. As we always like to do, this article takes Universal Design off the page and into the classroom. While interviewing Jessica, Stacy and … Read more

Issues and Education: Universal Design

An athlete is leaning against a metal bowling ramp looking down towards the bowling pins. His coach is standing behind him also looking straight ahead down the lane towards the bowling pins.

By June Converse. When I was in middle and high school, I did not enjoy volleyball. I used to find excuses to get out of playing. But I assure you, if someone had told me I wasn’t allowed to play, I would have been outraged. While I know there are obstacles to letting everyone participate, … Read more

Legacy Spotlight: Paul Ponchillia

Paul posing for a photo in a snowy wooded area. He is standing on a bridge wearing his snowshoes holding walking poles in both hands. There is lots of snow in the background covering the trees and bridge.

By June Converse. My Blindness is a Valuable Asset Camp Abilities is an amazing camp for amazing kids. But Lauren Lieberman did not create Camp Abilities in a vacuum. She was privileged to have important mentors walk beside her and before her. Two of these important people are Paul Ponchillia and his late wife, Susan. … Read more

Director Spotlight: Jennifer Stelmach

An athlete is balancing on a paddle board in the water. He is wearing a life jacket and bending his knees to help his balance. Jen is in the water holding onto the boys arm to help him balance on the board.

By June Converse.  “It’s my favorite week of the year. Hands down. My favorite week. Yes, it’s worth it. ~ Jennifer Stelmach, Director, Camp Abilities Florida Whether in NY, Alaska or Africa, Camp Abilities is a gathering of champions. The kids. The parents. The volunteers. The counselors. The directors. Today, I’d like to introduce you … Read more

Athlete Spotlight: Sean Meek

Sean and another athlete holding a guide wire as they run down the straight stretch of the outdoor track. Their coach is running behind them in the background.

By June Converse. If you know Camp Abilities, you know the founder and directors are committed to introducing physical fitness and sport to children who are visually impaired. It’s a camp of inclusion and acceptance, participation and accomplishment. But Camp Abilities is also dedicated to training and developing future educators and leaders in the field … Read more

Coach Spotlight: Justin and Matt

Matt and Justin posing in front of a sign that says "Welcome to Alaska". Blue sky and green mountains in the background.

By June Converse. Just Say Yes “When opportunity arises – without details, without logistics – just say yes.” ~ Matt Mescall A Journey to Alaska. A Journey to a Forever Impact. Camp Abilities is about asking children who are visually impaired to take a risk, to try something new. Camp Abilities asks kids to step … Read more

Issues and Education: Dignity of Risk

Athlete balancing on a red surf board in the water while his coach holds the board from one end. Athlete is wearing a life jacket and has both arms straight out to help him balance on the board.

By June Converse. What is the riskiest thing you’ve ever done? Scuba diving? Skydiving? Driving on the highway in a large city? Choosing one job over another? In the Universal Design blog, I used the term “dignity of risk”. While intuitively I knew what the term meant, I wanted to gain a deeper understanding. The … Read more

Mentor Spotlight: Where Is Eddie Now?

Eddie smiling for a photo with his service dog beside him.

By June Converse. In last week’s post, we introduced you to Eddie Martinez. Eddie’s desire and willingness to learn the unicycle was one of the first steps in Lauren’s journey to develop Camp Abilities. Eddie represented everything Camp Abilities would eventually encompass — ability not disability; challenging ourselves and our children; finding a way instead … Read more