OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — This week, Harrison Bishop is swimming, throwing hatchets, and all sorts of other activities at an overnight summer camp at the Heartland Center in Parkville, Missouri – and he’s doing it all while legally blind.
Kansas City-based Alphapointe hosts the annual “Adventure Camp” for children and teens with visual impairments.
This summer, about 40 participants from Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska are throwing hatchets past stereotypes.
“Here, I’m around people that have the same vision as me, not like when I’m at school and no one knows what I see,” Bishop explained.
Senior manager of special events and programs for Alphapointe, Jake McLaughlin, said the camp is meant to inspire and empower children with visual impairments, showing them nothing is impossible.
“They can develop passions, they can develop interests. They can try new things that most of the time they’re either told they can’t do or can’t accomplish,” McLaughlin explained.
That kind of inspiration is something 18-year-old Nathan Wilcox has felt his whole life. Despite being blind in one eye, he will enroll at the University of Missouri – Kansas City in the fall and has dreams of becoming a civil rights attorney.
“There’s discrimination of all kinds, not even just for people with disabilities, but for minorities, and more,” he explained why he chose to focus on civil rights.
Alphapointe is an organization that employs, provides healthcare to, and advocates on behalf of people with blindness or other visual impairments. It offers technology camps for children, sponsors Braille competitions and even built a “learning apartment” to help people adapt to their visual impairments.
“It’s important that people know just because we might have to do it a little differently or adapt it so we can, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for us. So you shouldn’t underestimate what somebody with a disability can do,” Lyra Thompson said proudly.
The 15-year-old participated in both the technology and adventure camps.
McLaughlin said donations help make Alphapointe’s programs possible. For information on how to make a contribution, visit the organization’s website.