Connecting Through Summer Camp: Youth With Visual Impairments Find a Sense of Community

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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The social meaning of a one-week residential summer sports camp to young people with visual impairments is described. The experiences of 13 youths (7 females and 6 males) with visual impairments (3 B1, 1 B2, and 9 B3) between 9 and 15 years of age were gathered using the phenomenological methods of focus groups, conversational interviews, and field notes. The thematic analysis revealed three themes: connected, reaching out, and resisting and acquiescing. Experiences of group membership and shared emotional connection to others with visual impairments surfaced in a supportive sport context although resistance to others’ assumptions of ability was evident. The theory of psychological sense of community (McMillan & Chivas, 1986) provided the conceptual framework for interpreting the findings.

Donna Goodwin, Keith Johnston, and Jennifer Leo are with the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. Lauren Lieberman is a professor of Kinesiology at State University of New York, Brockport.