Here’s the rest of the story!
Meet The Family
The atmosphere at the camps is unique because it isn't just a bunch of random people or friends getting together once or twice a year. It feels like you're coming home to family: to people who love, accept and respect you for who you are. I see my CRS family more often than my actual relatives. National Camps for the Blind is about family, friends, love, acceptance and opportunity.
It's my experience that the CRS reps don't stop caring for you once camp or a visit is over, this sense of ‘genuine caring’ continues throughout the entire year. You can call or email them to ask questions, get guidance, or even just shoot the breeze any time. Some campers even get together with their rep on a frequent casual basis because they live in such close proximity. Throughout the past 16 years, I've come to know, respect and love a number of the CRS reps as my own family.
Ed Ritsema, who is now retired, is lovingly referred to as Opa Ed by a number of
In the head office there are the ‘Pages’ and the delightful Brandon––who often works
the phone lines. Whenever I call Oshawa, I'm often greeted by Brandon’s warm voice.
He's so friendly and easy to talk to and very dependable at relaying messages. He
has volunteered with NCB in the past and I personally enjoy saying a quick hello
and catching up. Don't keep him on the line too long though, this little office
is very busy. Now, Pat and Ralph Page are always up for a conversation; whether
it be about camp, things happening in the CRS community, childhood tales from Bermuda
or updates about their son Devin of whom they are so proud. The discussions often
end up going for much longer than originally anticipated. Pat and Ralph have such
enormous hearts when it comes to NCB, they don't want to see anyone left behind,
often helping folks find solutions to help them attend camp. These two busy beavers
spend countless hours organizing camps and donations, shipping and receiving forms
and other packages, and all the other ‘behind-
Felipe Movilla, through his many years of devoted service to CRS has put up with a number of campers playfully mimicking his coined phrases such as "ah, come one man" in a Filipino accent. I'm glad he knows it's all in fun. Felipe always seems to have an amazing amount of energy. Even now, despite his getting older and slowing down, he can always be found working hard visiting clients and raising funds. I don't think I've ever seen Felipe sit down for more than 5 minutes. He always finds something to do. His friendly demeanor makes him very approachable, although sometimes he might be too friendly. I remember the first time my dad met him. Instead of a handshake, Felipe went in for a friendly 'hey bro how's it going' hug. This shocked my dad who really isn't into hugs—the look on his face was priceless!
The Richards, our NCB family from New Brunswick, always bring their amazing leadership
and fellowship to camp. Although my experience with Michelle, Daniel and Nathaniel
is limited in comparison to those from the Maritimes, I can accurately say they are
Interesting Side Facts
In 2005, I was returning from getting my guide dog Parade. At the unloading of a connection flight from Chicago to Toronto, I met the president of CRS, Larry Pitcher at the luggage claim terminal. He came over and remarked how well behaved my dog was on the flight, he didn't know she was even there until he saw us leave the plane. He continued to tell me about these wonderful camps his organization, Christian Record Services, puts on for blind people. I took him by surprise when I eagerly responded back that I enjoyed the camps since I was a young teen. He definitely was pleased to hear the wonderful things I had to say about my experiences. It turned out that he was in town for a meeting with the Canadian reps.
I must also mention my four-
One year, Parade saw a buoy floating a bit from shore and thought it was her toy that she had been playing with earlier. She swam out to fetch it. To her surprise, it was heavier for some reason, she didn't realize it was attached to a 20 lb cinderblock. Well, she was so determined to bring it in that she swam so hard and drug it about 50 feet and wouldn't let go. A couple volunteers went out in a zodiac to pry the buoy from her mouth and rescue the tiring pup. When she was delivered to me back on shore, she was exhausted, but I still had to restrain her from going back out to try again.
At winter camp, Parade enjoys playing in the snow, the board walk around the lake,
playing with her friends (both k-
Camps next year will feel a little lonely as Parade is retiring at the end of this year, after nearly 8 years of terrific service.