The Camp Bowen Society and the PTCB recognize that being part of a community brings with it a set of responsibilities to the community’s members. Camp Bowen is fortunate to have long been a part of three wonderful communities: the small close-knit island community of Bowen Island, the blind community, and the Deafblind community.
“The blind that have used Camp Bowen over the years I have come to know pretty well having sold my jewelry and art in the cove. Our conversations have always been around how important Camp Bowen has been in their lives. This is a part of old Bowen and reflects the values most of us cherish.” Dawn Smoke, Bowen Island Resident, 2018
On Bowen Island, the community the Camp Bowen Society calls home, members of the organization’s staff are always striving to develop strong ties with their fellow community members and give back as much as possible to those around them. For this project, the Camp Bowen Society and the PTCB are committed to establishing, through community consultation, how a project like the Bowen Island Recreation, Training and Meeting Centre can bring maximum local benefits for years to come. Both organizations will continue to operate transparently by maintaining open dialog with Bowen Islanders on how to improve our community participation.
As a part of the blind and Deafblind communities, the Camp Bowen Society and the PTCB have a responsibility to keep Canadians who are blind and Deafblind involved at every level of the centre’s operations, from establishing opportunities for individuals who are blind or Deafblind to serve on both organization’s boards of directors, to ensuring participants receive maximum benefits from the project, and everything in between. Here, too, open dialog is key.
Benefits to the Bowen Island Community
Benefits include but are not limited to:
A. Job Opportunities
In addition to creating jobs for blind and Deafblind Canadians, a recreation, training and meeting centre for the blind and Deafblind will create jobs for Bowen Islanders. These jobs include but are not limited to administrative staff, kitchen staff, and groundskeepers. Sighted instructors may also be hired from Bowen Island if they go through the appropriate blindness/Deafblindness skills training under blindfold and share the organizations’ philosophy of blindness and Deafblindness.
B. Volunteers for the Community
As part of job skills training, many students will be expected to complete volunteer hours, providing a rich source of volunteers for community events and endeavours.
C. Money Spent At Local Businesses
Students will contribute to the local economy by spending money at not only the restaurants and stores favoured by tourists but also at businesses catering to longer term residents, such as hairdressers, gyms, and grocery stores.
D. Respectful Campers
As campers generally return year after year, they will continue to be respectful of the community of Bowen Island. Bowen Island residents have already seen the respectful attitude towards the island demonstrated by existing campers. Any issues arising from the actions of campers will be swiftly dealt with by the Camp Bowen Society and will result in appropriate disciplinary action.
E. Respectful Residents
Students are not tourists here to party for a weekend. Because they will be staying on Bowen Island, usually for six to ten months, they will be integrated into the community more fully than a tourist can and will treat the island with respect. Any issues arising from the actions of students will be swiftly dealt with by the Camp Bowen Society and will result in appropriate disciplinary action.
F. A Strict Covenant
The Camp Bowen Society is willing to enter into a strict covenant registered against the centre’s title to ensure the community of Bowen Island is respected into the future.
G. Minimal Traffic
Since students and campers will be blind or Deafblind, with the exception of their family members who will attend some of the camps, and staff will mostly be either blind/Deafblind or local, there will be need for minimal vehicles congesting the roads and ferry. All parking will be on the recreation, training and meeting centre’s property and roadside parking will be prohibited to ensure roads remain clear. Sighted family members attending camp with a blind or Deafblind camper will be required to park in Horseshoe Bay and walk onto the ferry. The only exception will be made where a person requires a vehicle for accessibility purposes and, in such a case, the driver will be required to park on the centre’s property.
H. Respectfully Run Events
Although the primary use of the centre will be the training and summer camp programs, the Camp Bowen Society may from time to time rent out the centre to outside groups. Disability groups or local Bowen Island groups will be strongly preferred. All outside groups will be required to follow strict protocols to ensure they treat the centre’s staff and the island community with respect. Those travelling to events by car will be required to park in Horseshoe Bay or downtown Vancouver and will be transported by boat to Bowen Island. The only exception will be made where a person requires a vehicle for accessibility purposes and, in such a case, the driver will be required to park on the centre’s property. Any issues, parking or otherwise, arising from the actions of outside groups will be swiftly dealt with by the Camp Bowen Society and will result in appropriate disciplinary action, including the permanent banning of groups that break local regulations or the Camp Bowen Society’s policies.
I. Acquisition of Local Goods and Services
The Camp Bowen Society will source supplies and services for the Bowen Island Recreation, Training and Meeting Centre from local businesses and individuals where possible, contributing to the local economy.
Benefits include but are not limited to:
A. Blindness/Deafblindness Skills Training
Canadians who are blind and Deafblind from across the country will have a centre at which to receive quality and intensive blindness/Deafblindness skills training so that they can be independent, contributing members of society. The PTCB will have a centre where it can offer these services to people across the country without the significant financial overhead required when paying to rent a centre.
B. Summer Independence Camps
Blind and Deafblind Canadians will have a centre at which to come together for fun and educational summer independence camp opportunities. Camp Bowen’s summer independence camp programs have long been a great way to bring blind and Deafblind people together to form life-long friendships, learn from each other, gain confidence, and develop skills that help them to live life to the fullest. The Camp Bowen Society will have assurance that it can continue offering summer independence camps for blind and Deafblind children, youth, adults, and families for years to come and significantly reduce its costs therein, making it possible to run all eight camps.
“I had a lot of fun being a kid and being free. I got to do a lot of things I might not have gotten the chance to do if Camp Bowen hadn’t existed such as shuffle board, Showdown, table bowling, pedal boating and feeling equal. Everybody, whether we were partially sighted or totally blind, we were all in the same boat. For a week out of the summer months we could go there and just be free of life hardships and enjoy being children, teenagers, or adults.” Erin Lacharity, 40, Camp Bowen Staff Member, PTCB Instructor, and Camp Bowen Alumna, 2020
C. Networking Opportunities
The Bowen Island Recreation, Training and Meeting Centre will be a place for groups of blind and Deafblind people to come together, share resources, and build support networks.
D. Job Opportunities
The Bowen Island Recreation, Training and Meeting Centre will provide employment opportunities to blind and Deafblind individuals. These jobs include but are not limited to instructors, administrators, kitchen staff, groundskeepers, and leadership positions.