Giving each other "high fives," the girls jumped up to take their place at the front of the dinner line. They had just been voted "most creative" for their art project, which meant they were given the honor of ringing the Camp Bloomfield bell and being the first to eat dinner after a long day of activities.
Their art project, a collection of natural and recycled materials, didn't just depict the starlight hike they had taken the night before, it represented their commitment to work together as a team and help each other succeed.
During their nighttime hike, Marie, a "sighted buddy," guided her cousin Elena when the trail got rocky.
"Even though Elena can't see, she can get around camp really well. Most of the time, she's way ahead of me, but when she does need help, I'm always there for her," says Marie.
For youth who are sighted and for those who are blind, Camp Bloomfield fosters an environment where children are empowered to learn from each other. It provides a rare opportunity for campers who are blind to introduce sighted friends to a part of their world that their friends may have known nothing about. And, it gives campers who are sighted a chance to increase their awareness and understanding of vision loss, as well as to enjoy all of the challenges and fun Camp Bloomfield has to offer.
Each activity, whether it was horseback riding, rock-wall climbing, hiking or swimming, taught the girls of Cabin One the importance of teamwork, encouragement and trust— valuable lessons for all children. From their starlight hike to their final goodbyes, the girls and all the Camp Bloomfield campers ended the week fully understanding the meaning of Helen Keller's profound statement: "Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."