There are numerous programs in Northern California that provide accommodations and guides for visually impaired children and adults who want to experience outdoor adventure, sports and more. Whether it’s kayaking on San Francisco Bay, skiing in the Sierra, spending a few weeks at summer camp or participating in the Special Olympics, there is something for everyone:
Part of the city of Sacramento Department of Parks and Recreation, Access Leisure offers many opportunities to participate in paralympic and other sports, including goalball played at Yosemite Hall on the Sacramento State University campus.
Society for the Blind/Sacramento
The Society for the Blind serving the Sacramento region provides employment, training and youth programs to blind and low-vision youth and adults. The society sponsors the annual Blind and Low Vision Olympics held in Sacramento every year.
Special Olympics of Northern California/Yolo County
Yolo and Sacramento counties team up to offer training and competition in 11 sports, including aquatics, basketball, bocce, bowling, golf, soccer, softball and track and field. Every year, more than 1,200 athletes compete in at least one of the sports and the two counties are home to both regional Special Olympics competitions and the Special Olympics Northern California Summer Games.
Lighthouse for the Blind/San Francisco
In addition to employment and training for the blind and visually impaired, Lighthouse offers the hugely popular Enchanted Hills summer camp in Napa every year where children enjoy all of the typical summer camp activities — from hiking to swimming to campfires — that their sighted peers enjoy.
Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program/Berkeley
For three decades, BORP’s Youth Sports Program has provided sports and recreation opportunities to students with physical disabilities throughout Northern California, including opportunities to play and compete with and against other kids with physical disabilities throughout the country.
Environmental Traveling Companions/San Francisco
ETC offers adventure trips for children with disabilities, including whitewater rafting, cross country skiing, kayaking in the Bay Area and more.
Sierra Regional Ski for Light/Truckee
Sierra Regional Ski for Light offers guided cross country skiing in the Tahoe Basin, pairing each blind or visually impaired child or adult with a trained instructor who skis in parallel groomed tracks. Guided snowshoeing is also available.
Discovery Blind Sports/Kirkwood
Discovery Blind Sports offers guided downhill skiing and snowboarding to blind and visually impaired children and adults.
City of Davis Community Services Department
The city of Davis also provides accommodations for visually impaired youth and adults interested in registering for Department of Community Services programs such as camps, classes and sports. A little advance notice allows city staff to develop accommodation plans tailored to the individual needs of participants. Contact Jamie Elliott at [email protected] or 530-757-5694 to find out more.