Two campers approach the shoreline in a red canoe. They are high fiving a camp counselor squatting on the shoreline to meet them.

Making a World of Difference: An International Learning Retreat for Camp Professionals Serving People Who are Blind or Have Low Vision

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Wednesday, October 2 – Sunday, October 6, 2019
CNIB Lake Joseph Centre, MacTier, Ontario, Canada

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Hosted by CNIB Lake Joe and LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired's Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blindthis retreat aims to create an international community of camp professionals serving people who are blind or have low vision. Together we will share knowledge, ideas, successes, and best practices related to camps around the world. We invite you to the beautiful shores of Lake Joseph to discover new ways to enhance lives, make memories and build independence for campers in your corner of the world.

A banner image with three logos: CNIB Lake Joe, Lighthouse for the blind and visually impaired, Enchanted Hills camp for the blind.

Retreat Itinerary*

  • Day One: Welcome! Travel, arrivals, introductions 
  • Day Two: Enhancing Lives - Programming
  • Day Three: Making Memories - Recreation
  • Day Four: Building Independence - Operations
  • Day Five: See You Soon, eh! Travel, departures, next steps

*This itinerary is subject to change. See full schedule below. Session details are being added so please check back frequently for updates!


DAY 1: Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Welcome and arrivals

Free time, settling in, and tours of CNIB Lake Joe

6  – 7 p.m.: Welcome Reception 

7  – 8 p.m.: Dinner

8  – 8:30 p.m.: Opening Remarks: Making a World of Difference – Monique Pilkington & Eugene Chong, CNIB Lake Joe and Bryan Bashin & Anthony (Tony) Fletcher, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired & Enchanted Hills Camp and Retreat

DAY 2: Thursday, October 3, 2019

Enhancing Lives: Programming

7  – 8 a.m.: Rise and Shine - Optional morning activity

8 –  9 a.m.: Breakfast 

9 – 10 a.m.: Creating a Camp Community: your vision for collaboration – facilitated by Thomas Appleyard, Leadership Consultant
While every camp in the world is unique in terms of location, traditions and history, we share a mission to create experiences where people relax, renew, and rediscover. We come together to build a community of camp professionals; enhancing the magic of camp for people who are blind or have low vision.  

10 – 11 a.m.: Camp Programming: the good, the bad and the ugly – roundtable facilitated by Thomas Appleyard 
Engage with your peers to discuss challenges and opportunities in camp programming; share strategies for success and dealing with issues common in the camp industry.

11 – 11:15 a.m.: Break

11 – 12 p.m.: Youth Focus: "Ted Talks"
Spark conversation and share ideas about how to engage youth. Speakers will start with a 5-10-minute "Ted Talk" style presentation to get the ball rolling, with everyone breaking into small groups for further discussion.

12 – 5 p.m.: Bagged lunch / Excursion - Island Queen 30,000 Island Tour 3-hour afternoon cruise 

6 – 7 p.m.: Dinner

7 – 8 p.m.: Campfire chat with special guest

DAY 3: Friday, October 4, 2019

Making Memories: Recreation

7 – 8 a.m.: Rise and Shine - Optional morning activity

8 –  9 a.m.: Breakfast 

9 – 10 a.m.: Building on Good Old Camp Traditions – Eugene Chong, General Manager, CNIB Lake Joe
Many camp leaders are balancing the need for tried ‘n’ true camp traditions against the demand to modernize camp offerings. In a crowded camp market, can “free play” programs compete with specialized experiences? In this session we will explore the pros and cons of developing niche, topic-specific camps.

10 – 11:30 a.m.: Diversity, Accessibility & Inclusion: accessible and inclusive camp environments - Dr. Mahadeo Sukhai, Head of Research & Chief Accessibility Officer, CNIB and Yvonne Felix, Specialist, Accessibility & Inclusion and Central Lead, Technology and Innovation, CNIB
When we talk about accessible camp experiences, what exactly do we mean? And what about inclusivity? Mahadeo and Yvonne will encourage us to look beyond physical spaces to the ways we engage, communicate and interact with people.

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Kindred Lunch

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.: Diversity, Accessibility & Inclusion: "Tech Talks" - Jason Fayre, National Lead, Accessibility and Assistive Technology, CNIB
Artificial intelligence and accessible navigation are not necessarily top of mind when thinking about the great outdoors, but apps can make camp more accessible. Jason will help you think twice about unplugging at camp.

1:30 – 2:30 p.m.: The Power of Play at Camp 
Session description coming soon...

2:30 – 6 p.m.: Excursion - Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery

6 – 7 p.m.: Dinner

7 – 8 p.m.: The Journey to Success – Victoria Nolan, Paralympic Medalist, Head, Stakeholder Relations & Community Engagement, CNIB Guide Dog Program
It’s rare to meet a world champion! In 2010, Victoria and her crew broke the world record in Karapiro, New Zealand at the World Rowing Championships. Victoria's journey as an athlete and guide dog user will inspire anyone with a goal to succeed.

DAY 4: Saturday, October 5, 2019

Building Independence: Operations

7 – 8 a.m.: Rise and Shine - Optional morning activity

8 – 9 a.m.: Breakfast 

9 –10:30 a.m.: Risk & Emergency Management: "Ted Talks" – Thomas Appleyard 
Risks and hazards play out in complex environments and they demand we use methods appropriate for addressing complex problems. In this Ted Talk and discussion, Thomas will share how thinking about these complex environments can help keep us all safer.

10:30 – 10:45 a.m.: Break

10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Industry Trends in Human Resources: "Ted Talks"
Our speakers will start with a 5-10-minute "Ted Talk" style presentation to stimulate discussion about talent acquisition in the camp industry, from recruitment to retention, with everyone breaking into small groups for further discussion.

12 – 1 p.m.: Kindred Lunch

1 – 2:30 p.m.: Community Engagement & Marketing: group show 'n' tell
Confirm campers! Recruit staff and volunteers! Engage community partners, donors and sponsors! In a changing, multi-channel world, we're all hungry for examples of innovative marketing ideas. Show us what you've got that hit the mark: camp videos, e-newsletters, print mailings, media coverage, social media, and more!  
2:30 – 2:45 p.m.: Break

2:45 – 4:15 p.m.:
Revision and Rebuild: designing an accessible camp from scratch – Bryan Bashin, CEO, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Tony Fletcher, Director, Enchanted Hills Camp and Retreat
In 2017, Enchanted Hills Camp found itself at the centre of uncontrolled wildfires. More than a dozen structures which housed hundreds of campers had been laid to waste. Bryan and Tony will outline steps to revision and rebuild an accessible and modern camp for generations of future campers.


Designing a Day Camp that will Dazzle: running camp programs without a campRhonda Underhill-Gray, Program Lead, Beyond the Classroom & SCORE and Keya Osbourne, Program Lead, Youth Empowerment, CNIB Foundation
Camp doesn't always mean access to full-season, overnight camp facilities. Day or week-long camps are often offered in partnership with local community groups. Rhonda and Keya will share strategies used to provide top notch child and youth programs that are age-appropriate, affordable, accessible and closer to home. 

4:30 – 6 p.m.: Excursion - downtown Port Carling in Muskoka

6 p.m.: Dinner

7 p.m.: Campfire

DAY 5: Sunday, October 6, 2019

See You Soon, eh! Travel, departures, next steps

7– 8 a.m.: Rise and Shine - Optional morning activity

8 – 9 a.m.: Breakfast 

9 – 10 a.m.: Reflection, next steps, evaluation and departure

It's easy to register online:

Registration fee: $650 CDN per person includes all accommodations, meals, excursions and learning materials. Roundtrip transportation to Toronto Pearson International Airport is available for $100 (one-way transportation is also available to/from Lake Joe for $50). Pick-ups are available at Terminal 1, Arrivals, Door F on Wednesday, October 2nd at 2:30 p.m. in the waiting area by the GoodLife Fitness Centre. Drop-offs will be Sunday, October 6th at approximately 1:00 p.m. at the Terminal of choice.

All registrants will receive a confirmation email with full details about Lake Joe facilities and packing tips and a brief questionnaire to help us learn a little more about you and to make your time with us as comfortable as possible (dietary issues, accommodation requirements, etc.).

Cancellations must be in writing to CNIB. Full refunds less a $50 admin fee will be made on cancellations on or before September 23, 2019.

Questions? Please contact Sherri Helsdingen, Lead, Community Engagement and Team Operations, CNIB Lake Joe:

Mobile: 705-241-2907
Toll free: 1-800-563-0887 ext. 5289