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Dare to Dream – Meet Julia Stevenson

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CNIB Lake Joe has been a “second home” for 49-year-old Julia Stevenson from Bowmanville, Ontario. When she recalled her most recent visit during the new Holiday Week program, she gushes that “It was the best experience…just phenomenal.”

Julia scales the climbing tower at CNIB Lake Joe. She is wearing a harness and helmet. Julia began attending CNIB Lake Joe back in 2015. At the time her orientation and mobility worker mentioned CNIB Lake Joe. Once she heard about this one-of-a-kind camp, she immediately secured a spot for the summer that year.

This summer, Julia ‘built her own adventure’ during Holiday Weeks as this new program had a unique focus on independent, self-directed activities including kayaking, archery and the all-new climbing tower to name a few. A memory that stands out for Julia was when Eugene Chong, CNIB Lake Joe General Manager, asked if she wanted to take a kayak out on the lake.

“The confidence he had in my ability to do it by myself meant a lot to me,” she shared. “At one point I just sat on the lake with myself and thought, ’I’m actually out on the lake’…I can’t adequately explain the feeling that happened for me.” 

Each visit to CNIB Lake Joe leaves Julia with a feeling of relief and relaxation. “I don’t have to worry,” she explains. “I can be myself and do all the strange things that I have to do to cope with my sight.”

To many, CNIB Lake Joe is a place that holds warm, long-lasting memories and for Julia, it’s a place where dreams begin.

“I just turned 49 and in all that time I’ve never really dreamed,” she confides. “But over the years of going to CNIB Lake Joe, I’ve finally started to dream about where I could take my life and what I can do with the skills I have.”