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Friday, April 19th
for Spring Holiday

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Youth Services

Vista Voyagers Youth Program

Teens Together Program

School Programs

Vista Voyagers  logo, "Embrace, Embark, Explore"

Vista Center Youth Group and Family Activities programs are getting a makeover as the Vista Voyagers Program! 

Experience Your World - Embrace Who You Are 
Embark on Life with Confidence

Join Vista Voyagers on these FREE 2019 youth events:

April 28th, Cane Quest

First ever Northern California Regional Cane Quest Competition! Sponsored by Braille Institute.

Contact Bethany Small at bsmall@vistacenter.org or (650) 858-0202 x 183 for info & to RSVP.

Youth Program Permission form

Adult Permission form

Listen to Vista Center Director of Youth Services Bethany Small talk about the Vista Voyagers program here:

Vista Voyagers supports developmental growth for youth through the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC), nine areas where children with visual impairments require specialized opportunities in order to compensate for the lack of learning by observing others.

The ECC encompasses:

Children who are visually impaired require direct hands-on experience to fully grasp concepts not integrated in their daily lives such as feeling snow and sand, cooking, exploring how animals come in different shapes, sizes and textures, or participating in a sport that requires teamwork. Students are encouraged to develop independence by utilizing their orientation and mobility skills to navigate routes, learning and mastering assistive technology skills to read instructions, and practicing functional academics embedded into the lessons such as measurements or reading braille.

The goal of Vista Voyagers is for each child to develop into independent, well-rounded, and successful adults who contribute to society. These events also enable families to network with each other. The opportunities that Vista Voyagers offer will empower our visually impaired youths to strive for independence and look towards their future with motivation and excitement!
For more information, please contact Bethany Small at 650-858-0202 ext 183

Previous Youth Program Events

2019 Voyagers Ski Weekend

The Vista Voyagers spent the entire weekend in Bear Valley cross country skiing and playing in the snow! A first for many, students quickly picked up the sport and were soon tackling hills in a quest for more speed. Other students switched to snowshoes and had a blast tramping through deep snow or chucking snowballs at unsuspecting friends. Big Trees wowed everyone with the largest trees in the world and students had a hands on experience at the Visitor Center where they explored animal pelts, bird calls, and even bear poop!

One student who recently lost his sight summed up the trip, “My favorite part about the trip was being able to ski, before the trip it was really hard for me to imagine being able to ski like I did before I lost my sight. Being out there and actually skiing like I used to, it was actually quite amazing.”  

Expanded Core Curriculum skills Developed:

  1. Safe travel techniques: We traveled all over on all sorts of unusual terrain, the most nuance of which was snow! Students discovered how to balance in the snow, traveling up and down hills while wearing new footwear such as ski boots, skis, or snowshoes.
  2. Social interactions: There was an abundance of social bonding this weekend! We played endless icebreakers in the seeming never ending car rides, allowing the students to express their personalities and interests as they got to know each other better. Some students met other students with visual impairments for the first time, realizing they are not alone in their disability and assisting them to accept their visual impairment.  
  3. Independent living techniques: Every student helped with cooking, house chores, self-care, and cared for their own ski equipment, so parents don’t be afraid to let them help you out around the house!
  4. Recreation and leisure skills: We participated in harrowing snowball fights, glided across cross country ski trails, played a vigorous game of braille uno, stretched our minds with car memorization games, and built smiling snowman. All just a taste of snow leisure activities available to our students.
  5. Career education exposure: The trip consisted of ETC guides with various career backgrounds, a Google software engineer, an O&M guide, and guide with a visual impairment. Students chatted with the adults about their career paths asking questions on how they could follow in their footsteps one day.
  6. Sensory efficiency skills: “Wow, my echolocation skills are completely different when wearing all this winter gear!” A student exclaimed after stepping outside all decked out for winter. Students utilized all their senses traveling through the silence of snow.
  7. Self-determination development: For nearly all 11 students this was their first time on skis or even their first time in snow! They demonstrated impressive resilience by snapping on those skis and giving a new sport a try even when they were nervous!
  8. Compensatory skills: Braille was incorporated into the trip thanks to ETC providing braille uno cards and braille reading sheets at Big Trees.
  9. Technology: Students utilized their phone screen readers and camera magnification apps to access the world around them throughout the trip. 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/TL3wPU4W51ZGhNcR6 

 

Voyagers Imagination Station, A Day with Clay

The Voyagers know how to get creative! The Playful Critters, ages 5 - 10, created a sleek sea turtle and the Undercover Creators, ages 11 to 15, crafted their very own drinking mug. The Playful Critters worked jointly with their parents enjoying some quality time together while the Undercover Creators worked independently chatting with each other, the instructor Angel, and our New Visions of Tomorrow volunteers.    

Expanded Core Curriculum skills Developed:
1.    Social interactions: Younger students spent quality one-on-one time with their parents working together to shape and paint the turtles. Several students were reunited with friends they hadn’t seen since preschool, and students who were shy or new to the group were soon chatting happily away about their project ideas.
2.    Independent living techniques: Students practiced listening and Smiling participant showing off his clay creation following directions.
3.    Recreation and leisure skills: Students had the opportunity to craft, shape, and paint a clay figure, art exposure.
4.    Career education exposure: Students were exposed to an art instructor who was also visually impaired.
5.    Self-determination development: Students learned a new skill and expressed their own creative techniques. When confused students were encouraged to self-advocate by asking for help. Students overcame tactile defensiveness by digging, rolling, and manipulating the clay.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Ksft1F6zKiYazSUg7

 

Amusement Park TripVista Voyagers Group Photo at Great America
Vista Voyagers had an outstanding day at Great America’s Great Pumpkin Patch!
Expanded Core Curriculum skills Developed:
Safe travel techniques: Our students safely navigate the crowded walkways and lines of Great America. A fitness trackers logged we walked nearly 3 miles! Students practiced using their canes, guide dogs, and human guides.
Social interactions: The students interacted with new and old friends and adults. They happily chatted with each other while waiting in line, at lunch, and on the rides.
Independent living techniques: Students used the maps to navigate the park, learned how to buckle and unbuckle themselves in rides, and pay for their meals.
Recreation and leisure skills: Students experienced the wonders of an amusement park.
Career education exposure: Students were exposed to line attendants, food cashiers, and costume actors.
Sensory efficiency skills: All senses were put on supercharge as the kids felt the dips, flips, and drops of speeding rides!
Self-determination development: Many students challenged themselves putting aside their fears and rode roller coasters which were new to them. Other students stepped up to the plate and joined groups with peers they had never met before.
Assistive Technology: Student’s used adapted phone settings to remain in contact with their parents.

Check out this link to see the smiles on our students’ faces as they explored the wonders of the park. 

Vista Voyagers Kayaking Trip Video
Expanded Core Curriculum Development Skills in Action

Self Defense

Our students received instruction in community safety, being aware of their environment, knowing how to get help, and strategies for avoiding trouble and fending off attacks.

Surfing

Always popular, Ride-A-Wave, a non-profit organization composed largely of volunteer firefighters and police officers who enjoy surfing, spent a day with our students, teaching them to surf.

Kayaking

Youth Group Kayak trip to Angel Island

With some help from Environmental Traveling Companions youth group members have received instruction in kayaking and paddled around Tomales Bay, hiked, socialized, spent the night in tents they erected, cooked dinner, told campfire stories and challenged themselves.

 

 

Holiday Ice Skating PartyFive skaters in a row at the ice skating party

Following two hours of ice-skating, our youth group and their families enjoyed food, music, games, contests, crafts, karaoke, and Santa.

 

 

A Night at the Museum  

Our students spent the afternoon at a local museum and, once the museum closed, brought in their sleeping bags and spent a fun night camping out among the exhibits. 

Described Play

Wearing headsets, our students attended a major theatrical production while listening to a narrated description of the action on the stage.

Winter Holiday Party

Our youth group members and their families enjoyedDancing at the Holiday Party music, entertainment, dancing, karaoke, games, arts and crafts, good company, and truly good food.  This annual event provides an excellent opportunity for Youth Group members, families and friends, grandparents, teachers, prospective Youth Group members, volunteers, and anyone interested in Vista Center to meet and have fun.

Overnights

Overnight events are an especially fun way for our students to spend time together.  We have kayaked to Angel Island and then set up camp, and we have also slept in a zoo, in a decommissioned submarine, and near the beach in Santa Cruz.

Braille Challenge

Vista Center is pleased to be a host of the Northern California Regional Braille Challenge.  The Braille Challenge is a celebration of braille literacy in the form of a contest among blind school children.  The contestants are public and private school students in grades one through twelve.  

 

Divided into five groups based on reading level, the students engage in a fun day of braille challenges that include writing, reading comprehension, chart and graph reading, spelling, proofreading, and word search.  Each participant in the Braille Challenge is a winner and receives an award of achievement.  The students who achieve the highest scores in each reading level receive prizes and an invitation to participate in the national championship.

This short video clip is of seniors during a timed event where participants are scored on speed and accuracy.

Please note this video is not sped up. They are really that fast!

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''TEENS TOGETHER'' GROUP

First Saturday of each month, 1 to 3pm

"Teens Together" is an informal group for teens that are blind or visually impaired between the ages of 12 and 20 years. Together, we will talk about challenges, explore problem-solving techniques, find solutions, and use these strategies to be successful!
Together, we will:

For more info contact Lynda Johnson at:
650-504-1650

Visit our Photo Album on Flickr