Camp Hornby a life-changing experience

Camp Hornby

Camp attendee Lea-Ann Bee explores a tide pool as a camp staff member looks on.

On an idyllic island in the Strait of Juan de Fuca the staff and volunteers of Camp Hornby are changing lives.

“I’ll never forget some of the things I saw and the people I met,” says Military Police Unit Esquimalt Member Cpl Ashley Pye, who recently visited the summer camp for blind, visually impaired, and deaf/blind children, and their families.

The camp took place July 25-29 at Hornby Island’s Tribune Bay Outdoor Education Centre.

Cpl Pye went as a representative of CFB Esquimalt’s Military Police, who sponsor a large number of the camp’s attendees each year through the MP Blind Fund.

“Of the 24 kids there this year we sponsored 13 of them,” says Cpl Pye. “I really wanted to go to the camp and see what we do for these kids. I was thrilled to be sent this year.”

While there, Cpl Pye witnessed the strength of the human spirit in the determination the children exhibited.

“What some people would see as a serious disability these kids adapt to with strength and perseverance,” she says.

One particularly awe-inspiring event involved an activity where the children climbed up a 40-foot pole and jumped off while attached to safety lines. Cpl Pye watched with amazement as a young wheelchair-bound girl, who is visually impaired and suffers from Cerebral Palsy, hauled herself halfway up the metal rungs with one arm.

“I couldn’t believe it,” says Cpl Pye. “I could barely bring myself to do it at all, and this girl was doing it with one hand.”

It was then that Cpl Pye had a revelation. “These kids don’t see themselves as weak or broken,” she says. “The world has a tendency to classify them as disabled or less fortunate, but these are some of the strongest, bravest and most unique people I’ve ever met.”

With the life changing and eye opening visit to Camp Hornby behind her, Cpl Pye has made plans to return every year.

“I made lifelong friends there in just four days,” she says. “Whenever I get the chance to see the kinds of amazing people I saw here, I’m going to take it.”

-Shawn O’Hara, Staff Writer

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  1. Thank you for this informative and well written article.

    The Military Police Fund for Blind Children is our most generous and faithful sponsor and we appreciate the dedication and hard work that every member puts into the fundraising efforts of the fund.

    This year was especially meaningful as Ashley Pye and Andree Noye, both serving members and active in the fund, attended camp as volunteers. It was a great opportunity for them to see first hand what an impact the fund’s donations have and to take that experience back to share with other members of the MP.

    Thank you all and keep up the good work!

    John Mason, Program Coordinator

  2. Crystal says:

    That’s my daughter you mentioned!I am so proud of her and so thankful she gets to go to this camp! She is so inspiring to me with her “Let me! I can do it!” Attitude!

    Thank you for all you do for both my daughter and the other children you help go to Camp Hornby!

    It truly is an amazing experience that encourages independence, problem solving and life long friendships!

    Add that I never have to worry about my daughter while she is there cause I know that she is well cared for and the staff and volunteers all make sure they are well trained and informed on each child’s needs.

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