Summer Camp!

OUB Camp Schedule, 2023

OUB Valentine Paper Craft Day – February 11, 11 Am – by zoom!  See flyer!

OUB Camp Workday – April 30 – just what it sounds like!  Clearing brush and leaves and cleaning the lodge and bath house for camp to open!  Call Gwen if you’d like to help.

OUB Family Garden Day – May 6 at Camp Optimist – families can take home a planter with seeds planted of their choice, and help plant the OUB Camp Garden.  Look for flyer soon!

Staff Training – June 9 – June 18. 

Cooking and Serving Camp, – June 18-23 (campers ages 10-19) – $25  OUB camper’s favorite activity – cooking! American Food, this time!  And a service project to give back to the community.

Discovery Camp – June 25 – 30 (campers ages 7-14) – $25 Science week!  May include trip to Calvin College Observatory, nature programs, and much more! Plus little science-y cooking projects!  Also available as a day camp.

Family Day – June 30 (families of all ages and sizes!)  – Free!  Join us for this fun day of exploring fun activities that don’t need vision to participate fully.  Crafts, cooking, music!   

Bicycle Camp – July 2 – 4 10 AM (campers ages 7-19) – $25 Day Camp option.  Learn to ride a real bike from people who know how to help any child with disabilities learn to bike. Transportation may be available in the Grand Rapids area. 

Chicago Mini-Trip – July 5-7 $100 Spend 2 nights in hotels in Chicago and practice big city transportation, including using the trains, the EL, taxi’s, Uber and Lyft, and ordering and paying for restaurant food, experiencing museums, and China Town.  A great time, and great experience with different cultures and supervised by staff members with experience in Chicago and certifications in Orientation and Mobility.  Participation by director’s permission only.

Cooking and Jamming – July 9-14 (campers ages 7-14)  -$25 Cooking and Music camp with multiple genres of music and multiple international cultures of food! A fun and exciting camp for all!

Packing Days – staff only –  July 14-18  Packing and cooking ahead for our Adventure Trip to  Rock Climb and Kayak at Devil’s Lake in Wisconsin!

Adventure Trip – July 19-26 (campers ages 12- 19. Younger campers may be accepted under special circumstances.) – $150.  We are working with Chicago Adventure Therapy again, but this time to do a rock climbing (on real rocks) and kayaking trip at Devil’s Lake State Park near Baraboo, Wisconsin, including an experience in the woods with Kate Trnka introducing us to 54 senses, and the Dane County Farmer’s Market.  A great trip with great people and great fun! 


Contact: Gwen Botting, Executive Director                     Aric Wallace, Camp Director

            4175 Westbrook Road, Ionia MI 48846               [email protected]

            [email protected]                                    248-227-9855

                                         Scholarships are available!

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OUB is supported by the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Parker-Hannifin Foundation, Perrigo Foundation, Lions Clubs of Michigan, The Campbell Group, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan Project Learning Tree, First Presbyterian Church of Lansing, Michigan, and many other donors who believe in what we do!

Campers, staff, and volunteers stop for a break on a large rock in Turkey Run State Park.

All OUB Camps include learning skills of independence. To learn more visit our Independent Living Skills page.


See the Registration Page for information and forms for your child to attend OUB Camps.

Cookin’ and Servin’ (ages 10-19)- This camp combines our most popular activity – cooking! – with serving the community. Our kids rarely get the opportunity to help others, and helping others is a critical component of building confidence and competence. Cookin’ and Servin’ Camp will include specially adapted intermediate-level cooking every day, service opportunities, and the usual camp activities of campfires, hiking, nature, crafts, swimming, boating and more. Up to 8 campers will be accepted. Registration fee: $25 

Discovery (ages 7-12)- Who doesn’t like learning new things about science and nature?! This camp will give campers an inside look at how the world works with fun science-based activities. May include trip to Calvin College Observatory, nature programs, plus little science-y cooking projects! And of course, expect swimming, boating, nature, arts and crafts, games, rock climbing, plus cooking, social skills, self-reliance boosting activities and lots of other fun! We have a DAY CAMP OPTION for campers who want to try camp life and activities but not spend the night. Day Campers can choose to attend 9 am-5:30 pm each day for 1 day or up to 4 days (Mon-Thursday) plus the closing ceremony on Friday morning! Up to 6 overnight campers will be accepted. Registration fee: $25 

Cookin’ and Jammin’ (ages 7-14)- By far our most popular camp for several years running, Cookin’ and Jammin’ Camp (cooking and music!) gives our campers a beginning to intermediate experience in the world of food, and tons of fun listening to, playing and creating music. A wide range of culinary and musical genre’s will be explored, and also all the usual fun of swimming, boating, hiking and much more! Up to 8 overnight campers will be accepted.  Registration fee: $25 

Family Day- Join us for this fun FAMILY DAY for parents and friends to experience camp along with their child. Explore fun activities that don’t need vision for full participation! The family day will be beginning at 10 am and ending at 3 pm. Your campers will cook you lunch!! Last year we did a really super cool drum circle with our Board Member, Marcia Van Horn, who is also an accomplished oboist! If your child is participating in Cooking and Jamming, they can stay one extra overnight so you can pick them up after Family Day. Your child does not have to attend Cookin’ and Jammin’ Camp for your family to participate. All campers and their families are invited, please use the regular registration form for family attendance. NO FEE to participate and includes lunch, so registration is required!

Chicago Mini-Trip (ages 12-19 with permission from Camp Director) –Work on those all important mobility skills with adult blind persons who have mastered city travel.  Accepting up to 4 campers. Registration Fee: $100

Bicycle Camp (ages 7-19)- A great opportunity to get in a super camp experience and learn to ride a bike, too!  Traditional tandem bikes and at least one side-by-side tandem will be available. Transportation may be available in the Grand Rapids area. Program will run from 10 AM Sunday through 10 AM Tuesday. Up to 8 campers will be accepted. Registration fee: $25 

Adventure Trip 2023 (ages 12-19 Younger campers may be accepted under special circumstances)- Rock Climbing and Kayaking!   We are teaming up again with Chicago Adventure Therapy and professional rock climbing teachers.  CAT did a fantastic job with our campers last summer! Come and join in this great opportunity to explore in ways you have never had the chance to before – by boat that YOU paddle, and REAL rocks – not the plastic ones like at your local gym! The registration fee for this camp is $150, scholarships are available. Up to 8 campers will be accepted.

  • A registration fee of $25 (or $100  or $150 where indicated) per family is the only fee required. OUB is not charging a tuition fee for camps, making most OUB camps almost FREE.
  • Only 4-8 campers will be accepted at each camp on a first-come, first-served basis. This ensures your child gets the VERY BEST OUB has to offer! To reserve your child’s spot, you must send in your non-refundable registration fee with your camp registration form.
  • Please see our Registration Page for the form and scholarship information.
  • Need to know what to pack?!  See our downloadable Things to Bring to Camp document.


Due to special funding from the Elks Major Project Commission and Grand Rapids Community Foundation, scholarships are available to low-income families for our registration fees. Please contact Gwen for more information or visit our Scholarships Page


OUB has limited funds to assist with transportation and may be able to provide transportation to camp for your child. Your local Lions Club, or other local social service club may also assist with transportation funds for your child to attend camp. You will need to contact them EARLY, as many clubs do not meet in the summer.

What else do I need to know?

  • OUB Summer Camps will be held at Camp Optimist on the west side of Grand Rapids, MI easily accessed off Lake Michigan Drive (M-45) at 10324 Lovers Lane. This address in the GPS will take you approximately 1/2 mile too far SW. Please look for Camp Optimist signs and a yellow Welcome flag. (not the mailing address; forms, checks, and camper mail should be mailed to 4175 Westbrook Rd. Ionia, MI 48846)
  • Campers will be given the opportunity to choose a first choice and second choice camp.
  • Most camps begin 3 pm Sunday afternoon and end 10 am Friday morning. Some transportation may be available by advance arrangement.
  • OUB Summer Camps are all about fun and education, where kids learn new skills in a supportive, encouraging environment that will help them become more independent, and have fun doing many traditional camp activities, such as cooking over a campfire, swimming and playing all sorts of games!
  • Each camper will have a concentrated individualized program tailored to his or her specific needs, in order to learn new or advanced skills of blindness. This includes specific skills needed for children with low vision.
  • Each family and camper will have direct input into determining their individualized program and help choose what skills they want to learn.
  • Each camper will learn to make the most of their senses, whether it be their remaining vision, or touch, smell, hearing or taste.
  • Almost everyone loves good food, but cooking is one of the most difficult independence skills to learn, requiring a lot of repetition. Each camper will have the opportunity to learn basic cooking skills every day of camp, including outdoor cooking.
  • Over half of our staff are young adults who are blind or visually impaired. They are the best role models for your children!
  • Gwen Botting, former MPVI president, and mother of a successful college graduate who is blind, is our Executive Director, Cooking and Gardening Instructor, and a Camp Cook! She is dedicated to ensuring your child has a high quality, successful camp experience!
  • Aric Wallace, long-time OUB camper and staff member, is our Camp Director. His many years of experience with his own low-vision and as a member of OUB staff have given him a unique perspective on creating and managing a wonderful experience for your camper!

For more information on OUB Camps 2023, contact Aric Wallace at:
[email protected]

Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind’s mission is to building life skills, self-confidence and independence for children and young adults who are blind or have low vision.