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Meet the CNIB Lake Joe Community

A collection of stories that highlight the voices of CNIB Lake Joe. From past and present campers to our dedicated volunteers, board members, and generous donors – discover why our community is so passionate about CNIB Lake Joe.

A headshot of a Shawn. He is smiling and wearing a red CNIB Lake Joe t-shirt.

Meet Shawn Johnson

Born in Peterborough, Shawn now lives with his family in Hiawatha First Nations, Ontario. He is First Nations Mississauga Ojibwe and is a Sun Dancer. Shawn lost his sight in 2010 at the age of 50. His first visit to CNIB Lake Joe was in 2013, and he hadn’t missed a year until the pandemic closed in-person camp in 2020.
Peter and his wife Denise pose for a photograph at the bus entrance. Both are wearing t-shirts that say, "If they can't get there, they can't benefit."

Lion Peter Best: Smashing Transportation Barriers

For many campers, transportation poses a significant barrier to visiting CNIB Lake Joe. With the support of Lions Clubs and dedicated Lion Peter Best, campers from southwestern Ontario have travelled safely and comfortably to Lake Joe on "Peter’s Bus" since 1989.

“In the late ‘80s, I noticed many people with sight loss from the Windsor area were not able to get to CNIB Lake Joe,” says Lion Peter from the Windsor Downtown Lions Club. “It seemed like the people who were least able to travel were those who could benefit the most from CNIB Lake Joe.” 
Jason Mitschele and Dwayne King are standing together at a CIBC Run for the Cure event.

What’s YOUR Mountain? Team Limitless encourages kids to live without limits

Jason Mitschele always wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He used to live in Africa and knew others who had made the assent. Blind from birth, Jason thought climbing was a lofty dream, but he is not the kind of guy to hold back. 

As a Federal Crown Prosecutor with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, Jason reached out to his friend Dwyane King, a past police officer and special investigator with Toronto Police Service, to ask if he would be his sighted guide. 

Dwayne laughed, thinking Jason was joking, but a week or two later said, “I’m in.”

“Initially, it was just the two of us with a plan to climb in 2018 or 2019,” explains Jason. “Then someone suggested we fundraise to create awareness too. We created an account called ‘Team Limitless.’”
Cerenna-tee Racey standing in front of the Wellness Centre wearing a grey CNIB Lake Joe sweater, smiling.

Creating a Sensation: Cerenna-tee Racey

“It was overwhelming but in a good way,” says Cerenna-tee Racey when reflecting on her first visit to CNIB Lake Joe at the age of nine. 

“At that time, I was in mainstream public school system and didn’t know a lot of partially sighted kids. At Lake Joe, I met other kids my age, and we did new things together, like wakeboarding. I actually did it…and it was exhilarating!” says Cerenna-tee. “I was excited to meet other kids who had similar struggles. We were able to learn from each other. And on Family Weeks, the parents were also partially sighted or blind. It was important to see adults with a similar diagnosis to me functioning well and continuing with their lives.”
Randall Oliphant is driving a boat with a dog on his lap.

Meet “Super Six” challenger Randall Oliphant

“I’d like to say to anyone thinking about getting involved with CNIB Lake Joe, ‘What would you do if one of your family members was living with sight loss? How would you hope your friends and neighbours would respond to a request for help?’”

Meet Randall Oliphant, a remarkable donor, volunteer, and member of the CNIB Lake Joe Vision Team since its inception in 2016. 

In 2021, Randall pledged $60,000 in honour of CNIB Lake Joe’s 60th anniversary and has encouraged others to be part of the ‘The Super Six Challenge’. So far, three other Super Six contributors have each matched his donation: Joan Kelly Walker, John & Norma MacDonald, and the Hogarth Family/The Pioneer Group.
Corey Braun at a CNIB Night Steps event.

Believe You Can Achieve: Corey Braun

CNIB Lake Joe volunteers like Corey Braun play a vital role in crafting enriching camp experiences.

“Being a volunteer at CNIB Lake Joe will change your life in a positive and remarkable way,” says Corey.

Corey’s journey with CNIB Lake Joe began in 2011 when his mother recommended that he spend the summer volunteering as a lifeguard/camp counsellor.
Roy Klementti smiling, wearing a red golf shirt

Volunteer profile: Roy & Mark Klementti

In the last two years, the CNIB Lake Joe property has undergone a makeover with the additions of a multi-sport court, a 5-a-side soccer pitch, a mini-golf course, and a fully resurfaced shuffleboard court. These accessible features will keep campers busy learning new skills and building friendships with teammates and competitors alike. None of this would have been possible without the incredible support of Roy and Mark Klementti – a dynamic father/son volunteer duo.
Taylor Gaudot is smiling for a photo wearing her hair in braids and a green top.

I learned so much about my community: staff member Taylor Gaudon

by Martha Uniacke Breen for Cayman Marshall International Luxury & Lifestyle

“As I grew older, I needed a job, but I wasn’t comfortable in the typical teen jobs like fast food or retail. So my mum applied to CNIB for ideas. They suggested becoming a program facilitator, which is a kind of counsellor, at CNIB Lake Joe."
Julia scales the climbing tower at CNIB Lake Joe. She is wearing a harness and helmet.

Dare to Dream – Meet Julia Stevenson

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.”
Shawn Dale, Bill Vastis and Derek Thompson sit together on a bench and pose for a group photo on the shoreline of Lake Joe. Their smiles are wide and radiate joy! 

Growing up with CNIB Lake Joe – meet Derek Thompson

“My parents say that Lake Joe saved me because I was angry and miserable when my vision changed," says Derek Thompson. "But once I was at Lake Joe, those feelings dissipated, and my maturity started to develop.” 

Nearly 35 years later, Derek Thompson still remembers his first visit to CNIB Lake Joe.