I recently received your article and website link from my Employment Officer of my local CNIB office.
I believe that she sent it to me as I am in the middle of a huge project myself.
I will start with a bit of background information about myself first. I am 36 years old married and a mom of 2 girls aged 13 and 9. I have been a diabetic for 28 yeas and lost my vision almost 2 years ago. It was a trying experience but I set my goals and I now know that no matter what happens in life if you remain positive you can get through anything.
On that note I decided that I was going to take my childhood dream and make it a reality. With the knowledge and NEW understanding of disabilities I awoke about 10 months ago and made an announcement to my family and friends that it is now or never and I am opening a camp for individuals with disabilities so that all may attend and experience camp and independent skills.
We began to research and found that there is no camp like this in Canada in fact there are 3 in the world and one of them located in Maine is similar but not on the scale that we have designed. Our camp will be fully accessible for the vision impaired, mobility impaired cognitive disabilities and any other combinations of them. The current camps that are available allow a small number of campers with only concessions in place so many of the campers still require assistant where at our camp they can be in a safe environment designed for their independence.
We have received a lot of support from all across Canada and it continues to grow. We have moved out to the rural town of Rembrandt, Manitoba and this is where the 120 acre camp will be located. We have designed a 5 acre pond stocked with trout for our campers to enjoy a fishing experience. With a pond this big we had talked about boats and canoes but not sure what if anything was available.
So now I have read your article and think that maybe your expertise and advice would be a great help to my camp. If you feel that you maybe of assistance or would like more information or be involved with my camp in anyway I would love to either correspond via email or we can also talk over the phone.
I want to thank YOU for your story, inspiration and for your time to read this email. I look forward to hearing from you and hopefully learning from your expertise.
I’d like to post your letter and my response on my web site in the “Ask Lawrence” category. This will allow others to benefit from the exchange of ideas and, who knows, it may even attract more good ideas from others in the comment section that goes with each post. I won’t publish your email address or name or any other personal information.
I admire your spirit and think your goal of creating a recreational camp for all to enjoy is an excellent idea. Putting in a Trout pond for fishing is fantastic, but I can tell you from experience those Trout will grow up to be pretty smart fish and tough to catch.
The 1-acre Trout pond my father installed on our farm when I was just a wee kid was stocked with Speckles and Rainbows, while the Rainbows all seemed to have vanish within five years, those Trout stuck around for over 35. It was never to difficult to catch the first Trout of any day – and often on the first cast. After that though, the rest of the fish seemed to take cover and there was nothing you could do to entice them to bite.
You may want to go with a hardier species – something that is found locally. Some of the pan fish varieties are quite tough and seem to be up to being caught numerous times in any one day. Pan fish are also more suited to pond life and can exist in warmer waters with lower concentrations of oxygen – conditions Trout are not ideally suited for being lovers of colder more oxygen rich water. Pan fish also can be caught year round in most jurisdictions where as Trout can only be caught during set seasons. If you’re looking for non-stop action to keep your campers happy, pan fish are the way to go.
Paddle boats for a pond the size you’re considering can be a lot of fun. They are amazingly stable, can accommodate two – three, and can even be used to fish from. For more serious fishers, or to accommodate those who may not be up to supplying their own power, a small light stable row boat such as the Porta-Bote I’m using equipped with an electric trolling motor may also be just the ticket. They have a tremendous carrying capacity and are almost impossible to tip. They are also much quieter than traditional aluminum boats and are virtually indestructible. Row boats made from planking or plywood may be quaint, but the maintenance is always an issue.
In terms of navigation on a body of water that size, and given the unpredictability of the level of experience of your vacationers with boating, the easiest way to accommodate those boaters with sight disabilities is to use both audio and visual reference points situated around the pond. For example, maybe a landscaped babbling brook entering the pond along the shore at one end, and along another side you could have wind chimes and several large trees, and so on. An outdoor loud speaker at the dock playing music at an appropriate volume can serve everyone in finding the dock whether on foot or out in a boat. The loud speaker could also serve as a hailer to call people out on the water. Paint your dock yellow and any other water toys such as rafts, and your good to go. Just remember to keep your swimming areas well separated off from the rest of the pond.
Hope this helps you with your planning. Feel free to drop me a line with more questions any time.