SOURCE: Junior Blind of America

July 12, 2008 11:00 ET

Junior Blind of America's Summer Festival Celebrates 50 Years of Providing Life-Changing Experiences for Blind Campers at Camp Bloomfield

Annual Event at Inspirational Summer Camp in Malibu Offers Opportunity to Experience the World of Blindness

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - July 12, 2008) - Today, Los Angeles-based Junior Blind of America held its annual Summer Festival at Camp Bloomfield in Malibu -- Junior Blind's unique 40-acre residential camp that provides life-changing recreational experiences to campers of all ages who are blind, visually impaired, or multi-disabled. This year's event was particularly special because it celebrated the 50th anniversary of Camp Bloomfield, the inspirational summer camp that tens of thousands of youth have attended.

Junior Blind's Camp Bloomfield began in 1958, when Henry Bloomfield -- a significant supporter of Junior Blind of America -- purchased the land to fulfill a promise to give children who are blind or visually impaired the camp experience he believed every child deserved. Prior to that, the foundation struggled with the lack of camps set up for children who were blind.

"Camp Bloomfield is special because it is designed specifically to empower children who are blind or visually impaired by enabling them to participate in camp activities they otherwise may not be able to," said Miki Jordan, president and CEO of Junior Blind of America. "To share these experiences with their peers in a secure and supportive environment is key."

Building on Junior Blind's beliefs in the merits of recreation, the camp has since provided thousands of youth facing vision loss with access to a full range of physical and social activities to promote fitness, teamwork, friendships, self-esteem and independence. The only facility of its kind in Southern California, Camp Bloomfield now serves more than 1,885 individuals each year and activities such as rock climbing, ropes courses, horseback riding and archery give campers who are blind the opportunity to take part in fun, social and physical activities that are an important part of every child's development.

"We want these young, talented individuals to grow up to be successful adults," says Frank Cardenas, Director of Recreation at Junior Blind. "It's our responsibility to make sure they have the skills."

In addition to paying a special tribute to the Bloomfield Family for their generosity, this year's Summer Festival included a number of activities for children and adults designed to educate, enhance awareness and increase sensitivity toward those who are blind or visually impaired. These activities included a mobile tide pool and marine life exhibit, games, archery and arts and crafts. More than 500 people who are blind or visually impaired, family members, volunteers, sponsors, spectators and community organizations came out to support the organization and learn firsthand about the world of blindness.

About Junior Blind of America

For more than 55 years, Junior Blind of America has been an innovative leader in helping people of all ages who are blind, visually impaired or multi-disabled achieve independence. Each year, Junior Blind of America provides services to thousands of individuals and their families through programs that offer specialized methods of early-intervention therapy, education, rehabilitation and recreation. These life-changing programs are designed to empower infants, children, teens and adults to reach their highest level of independence and self-esteem. To learn more, please visit www.juniorblind.org.

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