Sports and leisure through the eyes of individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
** Save the Date **
Saturday, October 20, 2007
This fall SportsVision will offer Western Pennsylvania’s blind and visually impaired youth the opportunity to show off their many talents. Do you sing, dance, or play a musical instrument? Can you write and recite poetry, juggle, or crack some good jokes? Whatever your talent, you’re invited to perform it at the first annual SportsVision Talent Showcase. Each act will have three minutes on stage. Additional information and registration forms will be sent out in a few weeks.
So, start practicing and spreading the word to your family and friends. Mark your calendars for the evening of Saturday, October 20, 2007. It will be a night none of us will forget as we demonstrate our talents and abilities to the world.
** UPCOMING EVENTS **
Venture Outdoors Festival
The 2007 Venture Outdoors Festival will take place Saturday, May 19 from 10 AM until 5 PM at Riverfront Park on Pittsburgh’s North Shore. There will be free activities and exhibits for all skills and ages. This is the perfect opportunity to try kayaking, canoeing, fishing, in-line skating, biking, yoga, the climbing wall, and dragon boating. There will be food, music, and over 100 vendors and organizations with an expanded Natural Living Area. For more event info visit www.ventureoutdoors.org.
Northeast Regional Games
The 20th annual Davidow-Northeast Regional Games will be held June 1-3, 2007 at several schools in suburban Philadelphia. Blind and visually impaired individuals ages 7 to 77 are welcome regardless of ability so long as they can take direction and function fairly independently. Some of the weekend's activities will include goalball, swimming, judo, track and field, beep baseball, soccer, and a dance. For registration information and additional details, call Heidi at 302-836-5874.
The Golden Triangle Council of the Blind will hold a bowl-a-thon fundraiser on Saturday, June 2, 2007 from 12-4 PM. Playmor Bowl located at 5840 Buttermilk Hollow Road is the site for the event. Admission is $10 and includes three games, shoe rental, a soft drink, and a thank you gift. Sighted, blind, and visually impaired bowlers are welcome. For additional information, call 412-343-9900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
** ALL-STAR ACCOLADES **
Honoring a True Leader
On Friday January 26, 2007 long-time SportsVision volunteer and participant Henry Eugene Barton passed away at his Pittsburgh home as the result of pancreatic cancer.
"Gene was a beacon of light for so many blind and vision impaired citizens of Pennsylvania," remembers his wife, Darlene Barton.
Gene dedicated both his professional and personal life to advocating for the blind. He worked for 30 years as a vocational rehabilitation counselor with the PA Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services. Gene was a member of the American Council of the Blind and its Pennsylvania affiliate for nearly 40 years. In his retirement, Gene became an even greater advocate for issues affecting people who are visually impaired. In 2002 Gene was elected President of the Golden Triangle Council of the Blind in Pittsburgh. He became President of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind in 2003 and was re-elected in 2005. Gene also served on the Pittsburgh region’s Committee for Accessible Transportation, the City-County Task Force on Disabilities, and the Consumer-Provider Council on Blindness. He met with his local legislators frequently and attended numerous legislative seminars in the state capital.
“He was a man worth listening to because you knew what he said was well thought out and clearly stated,” admits Ed Face Myer, Gene’s long-time friend. “Whatever Gene did he put his heart and soul into.”
Gene earned himself quite a reputation in the visually impaired community. Many referred to him as the “Go to Guy” because whenever you needed something fixed, a project accomplished, or someone to talk to, Gene was the man. He put new siding on his home, tinkered with wheelchairs, built stands for the audible dart boards, caned chairs, and fixed everything. Gene was an easy person to talk to because you always knew he was listening. He had a thoughtful manner that gave credibility to everything he said. Gene had an infectious laugh that was usually followed by one of his incredibly detailed—never embellished life stories. When Gene was not working on advocacy projects or helping friends he enjoyed playing cards, shooting darts, bowling, listening to old time radio or blue grass, and following high school wrestling.
“Gene will be missed, but I know he expects us to work to insure that the quality of life for those who are blind and vision impaired only gets better,” says GTCB Past President, Bill Newland.
** HIGHLIGHT REEL **
Minnesota Dart Tournament
Three of SportsVision’s audio dart players spent a frigid February weekend in Minneapolis for the 2007 Twin Cities Audio Dart Tournament. Joe Wassermann, Bob Lichtenfels, and Sue Lichtenfels competed against about 20 sighted and visually impaired darters. Joe placed in several events, taking Second Place in 301 Countdown, Third Place in Count Up, and the award for the Highest Game by shooting 497. Bob Lichtenfels and his luck-of-the-draw partner took Third Place in 301 Doubles. Sadly missing from the competition was Pittsburgh’s Gene Barton, who had become one of the country’s best audio dart shooters.
Plans are being made for a goalball tournament at this year's convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Atlanta, Georgia. The convention runs the week of July 1-6, 2007. The goalball tournament welcomes blind and visually impaired individuals of all ages and athletic abilities. It will be a fun forum for friendly competition. To learn more, contact Christella Garcia, at email@example.com.
New USABA DVD Available
The United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) has created a promotional DVD which can now be viewed on USABA.org. The 5 minute DVD, produced by Mammoth Media is an informational feature which illustrates the story behind the USABA organization and promotes the abilities of people who are blind and visually impaired. For a copy of the DVD contact USABA at (719) 630-0422 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no fee to receive a copy of the DVD; however a donation of $10 is suggested to assist USABA’s efforts in supporting athletes.
NCAA Braille Football Schedule
The 2007 NCAA Braille college football schedule is available with 119 division 1-A and some requested division 1-AA teams. Included will be the results of the 2006-2007 BOWLS, the AP top twenty-five final polls, the 2007-2008 bowl schedule and much more. The schedule is $10. Make your check payable to: Allen H. Gillis and send to him at 302 Schaeffel Road, Cullman, AL 35055. Call 256-734-4047 or email email@example.com.
** ADAPTABILITY **
Camps for Blind & Visually Impaired Youth
Beacon Lodge Camp
Beacon Lodge Camp located in Mount Union, Pennsylvania still has camper vacancies for two of its sessions for children and adults who are visually impaired. The deadline for the first session, June 16-27 is June 6. For the July 28 through August 8 session, the deadline is July 18. Registration is $50 with the balance of the costs being sponsored by the camper’s local Lions Club. Some of the activities at Beacon Lodge include outdoor adventure, ropes course, swimming, canoeing, crafts, bowling, miniature golf, field trips, and much more. To download the registration information, visit www.beaconlodge.com. Contact Beacon Lodge directly by calling 814-542-2511 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
VIP Sports Camp
VIP Sports Camp, formerly Camp SportsVision will be held at Slippery Rock University June 19-23, 2007. Blind and visually impaired youth ages 5-18 are eligible to attend so long as they can follow direction and function fairly independently. Activities typically include goalball, beep baseball, track and field, swimming, wall climbing, and more. This year’s application deadline is Friday, May 25. The registration forms can be downloaded at http://academics.sru.edu/adapted_physical_activity/vip_sports_forms.htm. For additional information, contact Wendy Fagan at 724-738-2791 or email@example.com.
Oral Hull Camp
The Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind offers summer camps for individuals who are visually impaired. Young adults camp will be August 5-11, 2007. And the adult camp will run August 12-19, 2007. The camps, held near Sandy, Oregon, will offer field trips, swimming, hot tubbing, competitive games, crafts, entertainment, and great food. Each camp costs $350. For additional information, contact Jeff Lann at 503-668-6195 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.oralhull.com.
YMCA Camp Kon-O-Kwee will host a weekend for blind and visually impaired youth August 10-12, 2007. Camp Kon-O-Kwee is 300 acres of fields and woodlands located along the Connoquenessing Creek, 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, just west of Zelienople. Some of the camp’s activities include boating, swimming, archery, fishing, hiking, nature study, arts & crafts, and outdoor living skills. For more information, call 412-391-3328.
Camp Tuhsmeheta in Michigan offers a variety of weekend programs throughout the summer for youths with visual impairments. Sample programs include drama, art, sports, music, dressing for success, technology, and outdoor adventure. The camp is seeking visually impaired youth who enjoy having fun and strengthening their blindness skills. For the complete schedule and program descriptions, visit www.campt.org or call 866-789-9065 or 517-487-3923.
** S & L SPOTLIGHT ORGANIZATION **
Are You Up For A Challenge?
You are invited to join us in our efforts to open a recreation center for the blind and visually impaired! The Recreation Center Project is a new and exciting venture of blind and visually impaired persons to acquire and maintain a building of their own in the greater Pittsburgh area. The Center will be used to conduct business meetings, fundraisers, interesting classes, social and cultural events and neighborhood outreach programs. The ultimate goal is to acquire a building that is centrally located and addresses the issues of accessibility, transportation and safety.
The project is still in the development stages so this is a great time to join the effort. The developers are seeking input from any local organizations , chapters, clubs, or support groups which might be interested in regularly using the site. Any group whose members are primarily blind, low vision, legally blind or in some way visually impaired, will be eligible to use the facility. Once feedback and needs assessments have been collected from all interested groups, the search for funding and an appropriate site will begin. Ideas for the Center already include a café, computer suite, office space, classrooms, kitchen, and more.
In addition to feedback, the Center is seeking volunteer assistance. Planning such a huge project takes a lot of research. Anyone who can use the internet efficiently or make phone calls to gather information are invited to help. For additional information about the Recreation Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired contact its President, Cynthia Johnson (Cyndy) at 412-363-3939, Monday thru Friday, 12-6 PM or email her at email@example.com anytime.
** About US **
SportsVision develops opportunities for individuals who are visually impaired to participate in competitive sports and life-long leisure activities. Our vision is a community where people who are visually impaired have the freedom to pursue and enjoy the many benefits of sports and leisure opportunities. SportsVision is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization. All contributions are tax deductible.
“VISIONS” is available in various accessible formats including e-mail, large type, and audio cassette. If you wish to change the format you receive or make address changes, contact our office at 412-429-1996. Article submissions and content suggestions are always welcome at P.O. Box 23053, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.