Campers experience the life of Helen Keller at Ivy Green

By  | September 24, 2018 | Filed under: Event Photographs, News

TUSCUMBIA – A recent trip to Ivy Green, the Home of Helen Keller , will be remembered for years to come by a group of students who got an up-close look at the life of Keller.

The students, who came from three states, attended Camp Courage, a Helen Keller Experience, Sept. 20 -23. Most camp activities were held at Ivy Green, Keller’s birthplace and childhood home in Tuscumbia. The goal of the intensive camp is to encourage students in grades fourth through sixth, who are vision and/or hearing impaired, to use their abilities to make a difference in their school, their community and the world, just as Helen Keller did.

Keller overcame losing her vision and hearing as toddler to become an author, lecturer, advocate for the disabled and inspiration to people around the world. During Camp Courage, the students learn about Keller and how she helped change the world.

The campers watched scenes from “The Miracle Worker” play, toured Ivy Green, created crafts, participated in self-esteem and team building activities, went fishing on Pickwick Lake, and toured Cypress Cove Farm in Red Bay. There were also activities for their parents.

Sue Pilkilton, executive director of the Helen Keller Birthplace and an organizer of Camp Courage, said it’s heartwarming to see how the children interact and help one another.

“It’s amazing how quickly the campers bond and form friendships that will last a lifetime,” Pilkilton said. “Without being told to do so by their counselors, the vision impaired students help those who are hearing impaired and the hearing impaired campers help the ones who are vision impaired. Even during the camp, they are using their abilities to make a difference and help others.”

There is no charge to the campers or their families who attend Camp Courage. Generous donations from sponsors make the camp possible.

Student teachers from the University of North Alabama serve as counselors for the camp. They are supervised by a team of Helen Keller Fellows, who are highly-qualified teachers of the deaf-blind. The camp is very intense, but the smiles and laughter of the children are non-stop. Sometimes it’s hard to tell who is having the most fun, the campers or the staff.

The concept for Camp Courage originated with state Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow of Red Bay.

Morrow said Camp Courage preserves the legacy of Helen Keller and the miracle that occurred at Ivy Green when she first communicated with her teacher Anne Sullivan. “I think Helen Keller would be proud of what we are doing with her legacy.”

PHOTOS:  Dennis Sherer and Sheri Wiggins

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