My name is Phelim Mannion, I am from Cork. I am 17 years old and I am visually impaired. I have been involved with Camp Abilities Ireland since its beginning (2010 – present). I started off as a camper when I was 10 years old. I progressed on to be an L.I.T. (Leader In Training) for the last 3 years (2014 – 2016) and I have enjoyed every minute.
This year was the first year Camp Abilities Ireland introduced a student exchange programme from Utah (USA). Two students from Utah came over to take part in Camp Abilities Ireland’s LIT programme, which took place in Cappanalea, Co. Kerry.
At the end of Camp we were told that 2 LIT’s from Ireland will be given the opportunity to attend Camp Abilities in Utah. First we had to go through an interview process and then I found out I was lucky enough to be chosen to represent Camp Abilities Ireland at Camp Abilities Utah.
On July 6th myself, along with another LIT and two Camp coordinators headed to Utah to take part in their camp.
In Camp Abilities Utah, LIT’s are known as Interns. Staff members and Interns discussed what the schedule would be for the week ahead. We were all divided into 4 groups, consisting of 3 staff members plus 1 Intern per group (myself, my colleague & 2 Americans)
The programme ran for 5 days and involved a number of different activities i.e.
- Modified Team Handball
- Beep Kickball
- Waterfall Repelling
- Track & Field
- Tandem Biking
- Spin Class
- Fitness Gram
- Strength Training
And these are just a few to mention.
As part of this training I was to mentor a student (camper) who was blind and help him with what he needed such as interacting with other team players & colleagues and getting involved in all activities. This schedule changed every day and worked well for all involved.
Unfortunately all good things must come to an end.
Before I go I would like to express how my time in Utah was the best experience yet! Camp Abilities is more than just a camp, Friends you make at camp are friends for life.
Camp Abilities has enabled me to be the person I am today and has given me memories that will stay with me for life.
This is a guest post written by Phelim Mannion, a Leader in Training (LIT) at CampAbilities Ireland. He was on the CampAbilties exchange and represented Ireland at camp in Utah from 11th-15th July!