Competition grows confidence

Image of two girls playing goalball

Sport and fitness activities help the blind and visually impaired set goals, build work ethic and live a healthier lifestyle. 

According to the United States Association of Blind Athletes, studies show that people with vision loss involved in sport and fitness live a higher-quality life and are twice as likely to find employment. 

Outlook Enrichment recreation programs help the visually impaired find a physical activity to enjoy while increasing confidence and overall quality of life.

Camille, 15, dreamed of being part of a team. Because of her vision loss from Retinopathy of Prematurity, she wondered if this goal was out of reach. Now, her dream is a reality because of Outlook Enrichment’s teen traveling goalball team.

“I built my self-confidence and improved my collaboration and cooperation skills through this team,” Camille said. “I get to demonstrate my competitive spirit. All of these characteristics and skills will help me succeed and move on in life.”

In addition to the goalball league, Camille participates in monthly teen recreation events including scuba diving, rock climbing and the Blind Golfer Clinic.

“These activities give me one-of-a-kind experiences. I am blessed to have Outlook in my life,” Camille said.

Goalball gives JD, 17, confidence and an opportunity to meet other teens with vision loss. Born with congenital motor nystagmus, he searched for a place where he could belong. Now, JD excels at a physical activity and shares a common goal with his teammates.

“I love being active,” said JD. “It is fun to compete and to win sometimes. This team makes me a better leader. I have great friends and now know I can make more in the future.”

Like Camille, JD scuba dives, golfs, and rides a bike during Outlook Enrichment’s teen recreation monthly activities. After high school, JD hopes to become a counselor for children with disabilities.

Keli O’Dell, an Outlook Nebraska associate, lifted weights in high school but never considered joining a team. The Outlook Mavericks traveling goalball team helped him step out of his comfort zone and get into shape.

“I enjoy competing with people,” said Keli, who lost his vision to glaucoma. “I have made great friends and learned that I can face the world just fine with my vision loss.”

Keli stays fit through strength training at MS Forward and his own work outs. He participated in four goalball tournaments and looks forward to next season.

“Team sports give people with vision loss more than a fun hobby. They show us and the rest of the world that we can travel and learn new things. We are very capable individuals making a life for ourselves,” Keli said.

Outlook Enrichment hosts other recreation activities for the visually impaired including a summer bowling league, a tandem bike club and quarterly events for blind adults. Consider making a donation to Outlook programs. Your support gives others like Camille, Keli and JD the opportunity to keep doing what they love.

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