Virtual Summer Experience Camp 2021

Group of young people on video conferencing platform with several Leader Dog personnel

The Leader Dog team hosted a second Virtual Summer Experience Camp this year for 22 campers from across the U.S. and Canada. By taking feedback from last year’s campers and lessons learned throughout the pandemic, the team at Leader Dogs for the Blind came back bigger and better this year with activities that were more interactive, more individualized and more accessible. Prior to camp, each camper received a personalized package filled with items to follow along with the virtual sessions. These included a canvas tile for an art project, a personalized tactile map of their home area and some cool Leader Dog swag.

Virtual Summer Experience Camp consisted of two daily sessions that were one hour each on the week of June 21‒ 25. Campers enjoyed learning about different mobility options such as a guide dog. They participated in a virtual orientation and mobility lesson, discovered more about guide dog readiness and had a Q&A session with Manager of Training Jenny Sanderson. They also learned about leadership with a mentor panel and a session titled “Showing Your Best Self” with guest speakers from Rochester University and AAA ‒ The Auto Club Group. Most importantly, they had fun! Campers enjoyed getting to know each other better with small group activities, a social hour and a private Facebook group.

Concluding the week, campers relaxed with an art project, scavenger hunt and virtual escape room! Those with the highest participation points were awarded with a Victor Reader Trek GPS device. They were then surveyed for feedback on their experiences. One camper thanked the team specifically for the art project. She shared that she lost her vision seven years ago and until now had not found a way to bring painting back into her life. The team at Leader Dog is already planning and looking forward to Virtual Summer Experience Camp 2022!

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