Building Community and Sharing New Experiences at the 35th Annual Deaf-Blind Retreat!
Submitted by Jorge H. Aristizabal
Group photo of the 2013 Deaf-Blind Retreat participants and volunteers
The first time I attended the Deaf-Blind Retreat at Seabeck, WA was in 2004. It was my first time visiting Washington state. It was also the first time I used a Support Service Provider (SSP), and I saw what I had been missing all these years. It completely changed my experience because the SSP guided me wherever I wanted to go and supported me with communication access.
With so many great supports for people who are Deaf-Blind, I immediately knew that I wanted to move to Seattle. My opportunity came in 2007, when I was hired to work in the Machine Shop at The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. I went to the retreat again in 2007 and have been able to go frequently since.
There were many activities offered at camp that first year: swimming, jet skiing, and bowling, just to name a few. As a Deaf-Blind person, I had never been on a jet ski. I had never been bowling. That first year was one of many new experiences for me.
Accessible technology display and vendor fair at the 2013 Deaf-Blind Retreat
This year was the 35th anniversary of the Deaf-Blind Retreat. It was my sixth year attending and this year I had another first. I took on new responsibilities as a Team Leader, which is much like a camp counselor. I provided support for any camper issues and helped with organized camp activities. It was a great challenge and I look forward to more firsts and more challenges next year.
Editor’s Note:The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc.’s Annual Deaf-Blind Retreat is an opportunity for people who are Deaf-Blind from throughout the United States and around the world to come together and learn from one another. Deaf-Blind adults learn new skills for independence and establish long-lasting relationships that provide peer support throughout the year.
This week-long retreat is one of the most important ways you can join us in supporting this community, providing a one-of-a-kind experience for over 95 participants each year. Your donation today will truly change lives, providing a special and unique experience for the Deaf-Blind community – a week without barriers!