Summer Programs 2020

Image of the bright hot sun shining down out of a blue sky with the words Summer Programs 2020 floating alongside the Blind Beginnings butterfly graphic
Harry Potter Book Club | Kids Connect Support Group | Active Beginnings: Yoga and Fitness  | Summer Independent Living Skills WorkshopVirtual Parent’s Night Out / Online Support Group | Online Baby Beginnings / Adam’s Accessible Story Time | Summer Camp Nights | Summer Hikes

Harry Potter Book Club


Do you solemnly swear that you are up to no good? Do you spend your evenings snacking on Bertie Botts (even the Vomit and Watermelon flavors)? Is your idea of a wonderful afternoon sitting at the Three Broomsticks Inn with a big mug of Butterbeer?

If the answer to any of these questions was “yes”, then we have the club for you! Join us each Monday afternoon from 4:00 – 5:15 pm for our Harry Potter Summer Book Club!

Children and Youth of all ages are invited to join us as we convert the Blind Beginnings Zoom Room into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and spend the summer reading our way through Book 1: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Starting on Monday July 6, and running every Monday from 4:00 – 5:15pm until the end of August, we’ll listen to some Blind Beginnings Youth Mentors read a couple of chapters and then break out in age specific groups in order to have some facilitated discussions about what we’ve read.

If you have a copy of the book, you are welcome to read along. If you don’t have your own copy, and you’d like to borrow one for the summer, we’ll do our best to find you one. Wands are optional.

Register now for the Wizarding Event of the Summer
Please include:
-Participants name and age
-A name and email address to send the Zoom links to
-The estimated number of times you have read The Sorcerer’s Stone?
-Your preferred book format, if you would like us to try to get you a copy to borrow for the summer. (e.g., hard copy braille, hard copy large print, or E-text braille or large print)

Kids Connect Support Group

Many children across BC are missing the social connection with other kids at school and in their communities. Each Tuesday, children 7 – 12 years of age who are blind or partially sighted can connect with each other in our Blind Beginnings Zoom room. This is a place to share struggles, strategies, and successes, but also to play games, tell stories, and make new friends.

When: Tuesdays from 3:45 – 4:45pm
Register now for the Kids Connect Support Group

Active Beginnings: Yoga and Fitness

Through our Active Beginnings Yoga and Fitness classes, children and youth who are blind or partially sighted will have opportunities to learn and practice physical activity in a safe and supported way.
The objectives of this program are:

  • improving physical strength, endurance and balance
  • reducing stress, anxiety, fatigue, and depression – there is research to support that yoga and fitness actually reduces the secretion of cortisol (stress hormone linked to these)
  • increasing confidence
  • increased likelihood of future participation in a community based program maintaining and an active lifestyle
  • strengthening social connections with peers
  • demonstrating to parents that yoga, pilates, and fitness are accessible activities for youth who are blind 

Foundations of Fitness Program3 Wednesdays – August 5, 12, and 19 at 3:45pm – 4:45pm 

If you are new to yoga & fitness, or you’ve been finding it challenging following our online classes over the past three months, you might want to register for this 3-week foundations program offered on Wednesday afternoons through the summer. In this foundations program, our yoga alliance certified yoga & fitness instructor Whitley Point, will be slowing things down and focusing on familiarizing us with the fundamentals of yoga, pilates, and fitness. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions throughout the class, and recordings of the class can be made available for further practice on your own between classes.

The goal of this program is to provide attendees with the knowledge and confidence to not only attend our virtual intermediate level classes, but also feel confident in the ability to attend a yoga or fitness class in the community.

Week 1 – August 5 

  • intro to Pilates
  • Introduction to A body weight/ yoga and Pilates based workout. Requiring minimal equipment, this workout is great for staying active on the go!

Week 2 – August  12 

  • intro to boot camp
  • Traditional exercises with dumbbells (or substitute) make up a dynamic class focusing on strength training and cardio.

Week 3 – August 19

  • Intro to Core & HIIT
  • A mix of core targeting exercises and high intensity interval training to get the heart pumping.

When: Wednesdays from 3:45 – 4:45 PM starting on August 5
Register now for Yoga for Beginners and Foundations of Fitness
Note: Through July we offered a Foundations of Yoga program, and recordings of those 4 sessions are also available upon request.

Intermediate Yoga Class  Wednesdays 5:00pm – 6:00pm

For those of you who already enjoy yoga, this class is for you.  Our yoga alliance certified yoga instructor Whitley Point will guide us through different accessible yoga classes each Wednesday.  There will be a focus on anatomy and safe movement brought together by direct verbal cueing. As an individual with a visual impairment herself, it is a fundamental aspect of Whitley’s teaching style to speak clearly with straightforward directions to lead a fun and creative class.

Who can attend: Blind Beginnings members with some yoga experience
When: Wednesdays from 5:00 – 6:00pm until August 19th
Register now for Intermediate Yoga

Sporty Saturdays – Saturdays at 11am

Join us on Saturdays at 11:00 am and move your body.  This class is for youth who are blind or partially sighted, siblings, and parents, either individually or in groups.   Mom and daughter, Father and son, brother and sister, or any other family combination, this is a chance for any member of your family to do a workout in a supportive environment.

Our Saturday workouts are guaranteed to get your heart-rate up and make you sweat.  The routine and exercises will be varied and you should bring your hand weights just in case.  Our yoga alliance certified fitness instructor Whitley Point will guide us through different classes each week.  This is an opportunity for your family to improve your fitness and have fun while doing it.

When: Saturdays at 11:00am until August 15th
Register now for Sporty Saturdays

Virtual Parent’s Night Out / Online Support Group

Parents are invited to connect online, without your children, to share your challenges, frustrations, worries, and strategies for coping. Some of you aren’t seeing all the professionals who normally come into your home to work with your child, some of you are juggling home-schooling and working from home, some of you may have lost your jobs. Whatever your situation, this group is a place to receive support from other parents as well as a registered clinical counselor.
Who can attend: Blind Beginnings parents across BC
When: Every 2nd Thursday at 7:15pm
Register now for Virtual Parent’s Night Out / Online Support Group

Summer Independent Living Skills Workshop

In addition to the scholastic curriculum that all youth must learn, teens who are blind or partially sighted also have to spend time working on things like braille, technology, and orientation & mobility during their school week. This doesn’t leave much time to learn independent living skills like cooking, cleaning, and laundry. Even if there is time for these things, many parents feel unequipped; they may not know how to mark appliances to make them accessible, or aren’t sure how to teach a child who is blind to use a stove or chop vegetables without getting hurt.

The result is often a young adult who is heading off to university, but does not know how to cook, clean, or do their own laundry. This can be frustrating and embarrassing for the youth, whose sighted peers are doing all of these things independently.

That’s why we have created the Summer Independent Living Skills Creating Confidence Workshop for teens. Each week participants will come together in our Blind Beginnings Zoom Room to learn a variety of vital independent living skills that will include such topics as:

  • How to make hot and cold drinks such as pouring hot and cold liquids, making smoothies, tea, and hot chocolate
  • Marking appliances such as microwave, stove, washer/dryer
  • How to organize your closets & kitchen, and how to label foods, medicine, books, etc.
  • Preparing snacks independently
  • Cooking in the microwave
  • All things laundry: sorting, separating delicates, keeping socks together, removing stains and tips for remembering colours
  • And everybody’s favorite – cleaning up: emptying garbage cans, recycling, wiping tables and other surfaces, sweeping verses vacuuming, etc.

The program will run for 6 weeks, from July 16th to August 20th, and will be run by Shawn Marsolais and Jill Sloane, one of our Blind Beginnings Youth Mentors. After losing all of her remaining sight at age 15, Jill had to learn how to do everything all over again, from pouring a glass of water, to organizing her clothes and telling them apart, to cooking, cleaning and all the other life skills that are necessary to be able to live independently. Jill has direct experience on how vital these skills are, as she tells us:

“I always had plans to move to Vancouver and attend university, and without these life skills there’s no way that would have happened. In my opinion life skills are one of the main things needed to become independent, plus they’re a really great way of showing family and friends that you’re capable and can do anything you put your mind to! I was so grateful to have the instructor I did teach me all of these things, and I am so excited to be able to lead the Blind Beginnings Independent Living Skills Creating Confidence program.”

Jill is a 4th year university student and is also starting up her own freelance independent life skills lessons this fall.

You might be wondering how we will teach these skills virtually when hands-on learning is so important for children and youth who are blind or partially sighted? We have considered that and have come up with some work arounds to make this possible virtually.

Workshop participants will be mailed an ILS Kit which will include items such as stickers, elastics and other independent living aids that will assist in the skills we are learning. Each week, prior to the workshop, youth will also receive an email with items to gather from around the house prior to the workshop so that when we are talking about a kettle for example, you will have one in front of you to explore. Registration deadline is Thursday, July 9th.

Who Can Attend: youth who are blind or partially sighted from 13 to 19 years of age
When: Six consecutive Thursday afternoons: July 16, 23, and 30, and August 6, 13, and 20, 2020.
Where: The Blind Beginnings Zoom Room – so from the comfort of your home!
Time: 3:45 – 5:00pm
Register now for Independent Living Skills Creating Confidence Workshop.

Please make sure to include:
-Youth’s full name and age
-Parent’s name, phone, and email address
-Mailing address so we can send you your ILS Kit
-The email address we can send the Zoom link to for your youth to participate
-The top 3 topics you are most interested to learn

Space is limited so register now to confirm your spot. Registration deadline is Thursday, July 9th.

Online Baby Beginnings Program / Adam’s Accessible Story Time

Our Online Baby Beginnings Program, in partnership with Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada BC, is a bi-monthly drop-in group for babies, toddlers, and pre-schoolers who are blind or partially sighted and their caregivers.

Parents of children birth to five years of age are invited to connect online every second Saturday. We start at 9:00 am with a consultation with Margret Hanke, an Early Child Vision Specialist from Vision Loss Rehabilitation BC. This is a chance for parents to ask specific questions about your child’s vision and/or development.

At 9:30 am, All Blind Beginnings children/youth and their families are invited to join the Zoom room for Adam’s Accessible Story Time! Adam will read stories, but also provide image description and explain concepts that might be new to some listeners. Following each story listeners can share their thoughts or ask questions about the story.

After the stories, parents are welcome to stay in the room for some social connection and support from other parents, and Shawn Marsolais. This is a chance to share strategies and celebrate successes with a group that can relate to the experience of raising a child with a visual impairment.

Who can attend:
From 9:00 – 9:30 – Parents/Caregivers of children birth to 5 years of age
From 9:30 – 11:00 – Any Blind Beginnings child/youth and their families
When: Every other Saturday through the summer: July 11 and 25, and August 8 and 22, 2020
Where: The Blind Beginnings Zoom Room
Register now for Online Baby Beginnings / Adam’s Accessible Story Time

Summer Camp Nights

Every Wednesday Blind Beginnings, in partnership with CNIB BC, will host a classic camp activity or youth-led camp hang-out over Zoom! We may not be able to do it in person right now, but we can still connect online and have some virtual camp activities! Children, youth and their families across BC are welcome to join in on the fun!

Registration Info:
All sessions require pre-registration. To register for our Camp Nights please follow this link to the short online registration form:, or email, or call Gillian Anderson at (250) 595-1100 ext. 6039 to book a time to register over the phone.

For the full list of events, visit our Summer Camp Nights page!
While you’re at it, check out our collection of Camp Stories of shared memories and experiences!

How does this work:

You can attend all of these workshops and groups from the comfort of your home using Zoom conferencing. We will send you a link to join each meeting. When you click on the link the first time, it will prompt you to download the app, and then place you in the room. This app allows you to connect with video and audio from your computer, smart phone or tablet. You can also dial-in by phone but dialing-in will provide audio access only. Zoom allows you to choose to turn your camera on or off, making it possible to see the presenters without being seen yourself if that is your preference. It also allows you to mute if your child is fussing or you have background noise.

How to register:

All participants must also be a member of Blind Beginnings to participant in our programs.  If you are not already a member, please visit to “Become a Member”, or renew your membership. We want to limit barriers to participation in our programs, so ensure to send an email to if there are any financial constraints and we can look at waiving the membership fee.

If you are a member and would like to register for any of these programs, please send an email to Carrie at: Registration will remain open as long as these events are being offered, and you are welcome to attend as many Blind Beginnings events as you wish.

To register, make sure to please include the following:

  • The program(s) you wish to register for
  • Name of each person registering
  • Ages of any children/youth
  • Email address that we can send the Zoom link to