Student returns to school with confidence

NANAIMO: Youngster is starting Grade 5 with something new she got this summer – confidence.

Camryn McLeod is gearing up for back to school like every other nine-year-old.

But, aside from typical school supplies, the Nanaimo youngster is starting Grade 5 with something new she got this summer – confidence.

For the last couple of years, McLeod has been adjusting to life with Stargardt disease; an eye condition that causes blind spots in her central vision.

As her vision has continued to worsen, she became increasingly shy and wary to try new things.

That changed this summer when McLeod attended her first CNIB camp at Zajac Ranch for Children in the Lower Mainland.

Athough she had taken a ferry before, McLeod was a bit nervous to go to camp by herself.

“I’ve been on trips before, but I’ve always been with my family,” she said.

The camp provides an opportunity for children who are blind or partially-sighted to try outdoor activities, learn new skills, and meet other kids with vision loss in a safe and accessible environment.

McLeod took full advantage of the array of outdoor activities and tried everything from kayaking and archery to horseback riding.

“I was kind of scared to ride the horse at first,” she said. “I’ve rode a horse before, but it was a little one and this one was really big … after I did it though, I felt so good.”

McLeod’s mom, Kim, said it was opportunities like this at camp that have given her daughter a much-needed confidence boost.

“She was able to experience so much at camp because of the safety and security of the supports that she had,” she said.

These camp experiences have armed McLeod with the can-do attitude that she’ll need for Grade 5.

Despite having to hold print centimetres from her face in order to read it, McLeod is now certain that she can do anything any other kid can.

For more information, please go to www.cnib.ca.

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