LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired invites its community and supporters to attend summer camp for a night at An Enchanted Evening, August 19th at the Westin St. Francis in Union Square.
The gala event, which will raise funds for Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind, will feature stories, songs, and the sparkle of starlight as attendees experience the camp’s community and joy.
From left: A Little Learners camper interacts with a bottle of cooking oil; another camper plays piano.(Courtesy of LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired)
Enchanted Hills Camp was founded in 1950 by Rose Resnick, an independent blind trailblazer who dreamed of a place where thousands of blind children could have the opportunity to explore the world around them. She realized that dream on 311 acres near the summit of Mt. Veeder, just west of Napa, where she built a camp that offers anyone who attends freedom, independence, and the opportunity to build confidence in community with a diverse group of fellow campers.
In 2017, the Nuns fire ripped through Napa and Sonoma Counties, devastating the Enchanted Hills Camp property. It was a tragic moment, but provided the chance to reimagine Enchanted Hills Camp into a year-round home for blind, low vision, and deafblind community members to grow, explore, and learn. The camp’s new and expanded facilities will also provide employment training.
Centering Blind and Low Vision Stories on Stage
Nearly everyone who takes the stage on the night of the event will be blind, deafblind, or low vision. Celebrating the community served by LightHouse and their stories is a key feature of this event.
Oakland-born disability rights advocate Rebecca Alexander, author of Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found, will return to the Bay Area to give the keynote address. Alexander is an accomplished psychotherapist, group fitness instructor, and extreme athlete. Born with Usher Syndrome Type III, a rare genetic disorder, she has been simultaneously losing both her sight and hearing since she was an adolescent.
“I have such fond memories of going to camp every summer from my childhood through my teenage years in Northern California,” said Alexander. “I’m especially delighted to support LightHouse’s efforts to create a world-class facility to serve campers who might otherwise not have access to the confidence-building activities and opportunities Enchanted Hills offers.”
Meghan Downing, our musical guest, was diagnosed with Stargardt Retinal Disease at nine years old. She had been playing a variety of string instruments since the age of five, and learned to play music by ear as reading sheet music became increasingly difficult. Meghan followed her dreams to Boston, Massachusetts to pursue her music career at Berklee School of Music, and recently released her first single, “Any Luck,” on July 7th.
Downing, too, spent most summers as a child and young adult at a sleepaway camp. She draws from her memories of singing and playing guitar around the campfire as an inspiration for her country-inspired musical style.
“Every piece of the gala will be centered around blindness and low vision,” said Kathryn Webster, gala co-chair. “For others to see the power and hear the voices of so many blind people within one room will be so, so special.”
One-of-a-Kind Auction Lots up for Bid
The event will include an auction featuring one-of-a-kind packages that feature everything from a San Francisco staycation–including an SFJazz performance, dinner, and a hotel room–to an exclusive wagyu beef and whiskey tasting hosted by the chair of LightHouse’s board of directors.
One very special package includes a three-day curated Napa Valley experience that will include the following elements:
- —Two nights deluxe accommodations at the Westin Verasa
- —Private class at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Copia
- —Drinks at The Fink, Napa’s hot new bar
- —Chef’s menu at Torc by owner/chef Sean O’Toole with wines from a Wine Spectator “Award of Excellence” list crafted by sommelier/partner Cynthia O’Toole
- —Tour, tasting, and dinner at Pott Wine with winemaker Aaron Pott and chef Stephen Barber of —Farmstead, plus six bottles to take home
- —Enchanted Hills Camp tour with director Tony Fletcher and Perkins+Will architect Helen Schneider
- —Private pizza class with Il Fuoco chef/owner Rob Larman
- —Tasting of 95- to 100-point wines at Hall Wines
- —Cabernet tasting at Stardust Napa Valley, plus 6 magnums for your collection
By joining LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired on August 19th, you’ll make a difference in the lives of blind, low vision, and deafblind people of all ages while enjoying a multi-sensory trip to summer camp for the evening.
“The impact of Enchanted Hills Camp on the lives of blind, deafblind, and low vision people who experience it is a story that needs to be told,” said gala co-chair Laura Allen. “Being able to celebrate this unique resource as one community will be fantastic.”
There are still tickets available for the event, but don’t wait! You can reserve your excursion to this one-night-only camp experience at lighthousegala.org.
Among the auction lots at the gala event is a private cooking class at CIA at Copia, which is pictured here.(Courtesy of LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired)