Camp Bloomfield to host annual Summer Games

Visually impaired athletes do archery with the aid of their buddies and the use of sounds.

Seventeen young people from Malibu will act as ‘buddies’ to guide and support their visually impaired friends.

By Ward Lauren / Special to The Malibu Times

More than 200 blind, visually impaired or multiply disabled children ages five to 12 will compete in the 11th Annual Camp Bloomfield Summer Games hosted by Junior Blind of America on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event is conducted, in the manner of the international Olympic Games. The children, along with sighted “buddies” of the same age, are grouped into teams that are given the names of various nations. Ceremonial opening and closing activities similar to the Olympics are conducted, and awards are given to the winners of the events.

Participants compete in track and field races (with a baton hooked to a string marking the lane), archery (guided by sound) and swimming. Their buddies accompany them in each event, positioning them at the start, guiding them from venue to venue and providing encouragement and general support throughout the games.

Although there are no local children registered among the competitors this year, 17 young people from Malibu will be there as buddies to support their special friends in their efforts. Judy Gordon will be attending the event for the fifth consecutive year with her daughter Brooklyn, 7, a third-grader at Webster Elementary School, and son Linus, 9, a fifth-grader.

“It’s really an inspiring thing, coming back year after year,” Judy Gordon said. “Some long-term attachments are formed; the kids will see someone they may have been a buddy to four years ago, and they’ll go over to them and say ‘Remember me?’

“There are some long waits between events sometimes and the buddies are with them for the whole day. They keep them company, talk to them, have lunch with them. The kids look forward to it each year.”

Camp Bloomfield is a 40-acre residential camp located at 35375 Mulholland Highway, near Leo Carrillo State Beach. Shuttles and free parking are available along Mulholland, and attendance is free.

The opening torch parade is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.. Events will continue throughout the day.

Through these games and other activities at Camp Bloomfield, Junior Blind of America helps blind and visually impaired children develop skills and self-esteem through recreational and camp programs. Founded in 1953, the nonprofit organization has provided services to thousands of kids and their families in six nationally recognized programs that offer innovative methods of education, recreation, training and rehabilitation, according to the organization’s Web site.

“These life-changing programs empower infants, children, teens and adults to reach their highest level of potential, independence and self-esteem. Our more than half-century of service has earned a four-star rating by one of the nation’s leading donor guides, Charity Navigator, the highest rating granted by the public service,” the organization states.

For more information on the Summer Games or Camp Bloomfield in general, go to or call 323.295.4555.