Perkins ELP alum organizes inclusive adventure camp in the Philippines

For her final leadership project, ELP alum Grace Torres planned an inclusive adventure camp for families in the Philippines.

Three girls hold on tight to each other while they hop to the finish line in a sack race.

From March 8th to 10th, 2024, seventeen families came together for an inclusive adventure camp in the picturesque lands of Cebu, Philippines at the EVO Nature Camp. This event was EVO Nature Camp’s first time hosting children with disabilities and their families.

Thanks to Grace Torres, a graduate of Perkins’ Educational Leadership Program, the inclusive adventure camp created lasting memories for everyone involved.

Portrait of Grace Torres, a woman wearing black sunglasses and with short brown hair. She smiles against a beautiful lush green backdrop in the Philippines.

In August 2023, Grace held a focus group to gather feedback from parents, which helped her plan the camp’s itinerary. As a mother of a strong teenage girl with low vision, Grace knew the importance of building strong family bonds. Children with disabilities need a supportive environment to unlock opportunities and define their own success.

As a result, Grace titled her final leadership project, “From Trails to Ties: Building Stronger Families.”

An inclusive amazing race

An inclusive version of the amazing race started off the weekend of family fun! Each family relied on the braille reading skills of the children to figure out the next clue.

Three teams of two and three stand around a table with three black papers with braille on it. For each team, there is one person touching the braille piece of paper.

Other events in the race included rope climbing, a balance log, and a sack race, where children paired up with a family member and raced to the finish line.

An adolescent boy standing inside a large sack is guided by two adult women on either side as they race to the finish line in a sack race.
Two children hop to the finish line in a sack race with the eyes closed while an adult stands close by. The girl on the left is slightly ahead while the boy on the right hops high to catch up.

A nature respite

Another key aspect of Grace’s inclusive adventure camp was to help families and their children enjoy a fun time in nature. She planned nature walks and a relaxing tree-planting activity.

A mother a son squat outside and plant a small tree. Supervising them is a man in a "Pavic" shirt.

Of course, the best way to end any camping trip is with a bonfire and s’mores. Families came together around a large fire with sticks of marshmallows, told stories, and cracked jokes. Our favorite part of inclusion is that everyone gets to have fun.

Creating lasting memories

This is the first time EVO Nature Camp has hosted a group of visually impaired children and youth, and as an unexpected but welcome outcome, they became inspired to organize future camps for the visually impaired, and to make their grounds more accessible.

Thanks to the Parent Advocates of Visually Impaired Children (PAVIC) for working with Grace to make this inclusive adventure camp such an exciting and fun experience for everyone. These moments of inclusion are vital in helping children with disabilities find their place in the world.

I learned tree planting and [how to] be independent. I will never forget the bonfire and amazing race. Thank you PAVIC and Perkins School for the Blind!

Trixie Quintana is a teenager with long black hair that is tucked behind her ear. She smiles and sits outside with a backdrop of lush trees and purple flowers.
Trixie Quintana, 17 year-old camper

Help children with disabilities find their place in the world.

Perkins School for the Blind teams up with partners all over the world to unlock opportunities for children with disabilities in school and life. Your support allows us to continue this transformative work.