Blind and Low Vision Kids Experience Alaskan Wilderness

By Ally Keene, Camp Webber

Camp Webber, formally Camp Abilities Alaska, is a five-day overnight sports camp for youth 8-17 who are blind or visually impaired. Held at Camp Birchwood in Chugiak, Alaska, this program offers the opportunity for campers from all over to participate in adapted sports, meet new friends and enjoy an overnight camp experience in the wilderness of Alaska.

Archery at Camp Webber

Summer Camp Fun for Kids with Vision Disabilities

Camp Webber aims to empower youth with visual impairments to be physically active members of their schools and communities by teaching sport and recreation skills, providing tips for self-advocacy and encouraging campers to be independent. While at Camp Webber, campers have the opportunity to learn about and partake in blind-specific sports, such as goalball, 5-a-side soccer and beep baseball, as well as recreation activities adapted to their needs, such as canoeing, paddleboarding, archery, hiking and swimming.

Archery at Camp Webber

All activities are taught by highly qualified specialists who bring years of experience to our program. This camp pairs volunteer counselors with a camper to provide individualized instruction and support for all activities, in order to meet the needs of each individual.

On-the-job Training Opportunities for Disability Professionals

A secondary objective of Camp Webber is to help provide professional training and learning experiences for future professionals interested in teaching sports to and for persons with visual impairments. Each year, volunteers and staff from all over the world come to Alaska to assist in providing this opportunity to the youth at Camp Webber.

Many of these individuals come from professional programs that specialize in working with youth with disabilities, such as adapted physical education, special education, therapeutic recreation, teacher of the visually impaired, orientation and mobility specialist, and others. By providing first-hand experience to students in these fields, Camp Webber helps to supplement training from higher education institutions to develop volunteers to work with individuals who are visually impaired.

Archery at Camp Webber

Both campers and staff reside on the campground of Camp Birchwood throughout the duration of the camp, partaking in an immersive experience that offers campers the opportunity to socialize and participate in sport and leisure activities away from their home-life. Camp staff and campers have the opportunity to eat, sleep and recreate together, while learning and growing from one another throughout the week.

Camp Webber is Free for Disabled Kids from Around the World

Camp Webber is free for participants and is made possible through a grant from the ME Webber Foundation. The camp is being run by the Center for Movement, Health, and Disability at Old Dominion University and, as a program coordinator for the center and current Doctoral Scholar specializing in Adapted Physical Education/Activity, I am excited and honored to direct this project.

Camp Webber is also supported by Challenge Alaska, a non-profit dedicated to helping Alaskans living with disabilities through adaptive sports and therapeutic recreation. If you are interested in more information, registering a camper, or volunteering as a counselor, please visit our website. We also can be found on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. If you have any questions about Camp Webber, please contact me at

Archery at Camp Webber

About the Author:

Ally Keene is currently a doctoral student specializing in adapted physical education/activity. She coordinates two initiatives for The Center for Movement, Health, and Disability at Old Dominion University, Camp Webber and Mighty Monarchs Adapted Sport Program for youth with visual impairments. Ally has previously taught adapted and general physical education and worked as a specialist at Camp Spark, through the Northwest Association for Blind Athletes.


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