The Canadian Organization of the Blind and Deafblind (formerly the Camp Bowen Society) is a federal not-for-profit organization, headquartered on beautiful Bowen Island, British Columbia, that operates the Camp Bowen summer independence camps, blindness/Deafblindness skills training, and outreach programs benefiting people who are blind and Deafblind from across Canada. It also facilitates the Bowen Island Accessibility Group, a program for people with disabilities on Bowen Island, BC.
We also work very closely with the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind on many initiatives.
The Canadian Organization of the Blind and Deafblind promotes the following statements of principle:
- We are not an organization speaking on behalf of blind and Deafblind people; rather we are an organization of blind and Deafblind people speaking for ourselves;
- We believe that with training and opportunity blindness and Deafblindness can be reduced to the level of a nuisance;
- We believe that blindness and Deafblindness are not handicaps, but characteristics;
- We believe it is respectable to be blind or Deafblind;
- We believe that blind and Deafblind people can compete on terms of equality with their sighted and hearing peers;
- We believe the real problem of blindness and Deafblindness is not the lack of eyesight and/or hearing. The real problem is the lack of positive information about blindness and Deafblindness and the achievements of blind and Deafblind people.
The objectives of the Canadian Organization of the Blind and Deafblind are:
- To provide opportunities for blind and Deafblind children, youth, and adults to meet for recreation, peer support, networking, and learning;
- To operate independent living and employment skills training programs for people who are blind and Deafblind;
- To establish and operate national recreation, training and meeting centres (based on the structured-discovery learning instructional model) which provide education and other specialized services for the blind and Deafblind in order to relieve conditions (societal and otherwise) associated with blindness and Deafblindness;
- To break down societal barriers for people who are blind and Deafblind by having them lead public education initiatives on blindness, deafblindness, and inclusion;
- To promote the well-being and dignity of people who are blind or Deafblind in general as well as that of people with disabilities residing on Bowen Island, British Columbia;
- To undertake activities ancillary to the above-mentioned charitable purposes.
The legacy of Camp Bowen, our oldest program, dates back to the early 1960’s.
Projects as ambitious as ours require a dedicated and passionate team.