By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – NewView Oklahoma has announced the recent acquisition of a Lake Tenkiller property that will host future OWL Camps through a generous gift from Globe Life.
On Monday, Jan. 28, NewView Oklahoma and Globe Life hosted a key transfer ceremony at the donated Tenkiller lodge located at 19810 W. 901 Road in Cookson, OK.
NewView believes that every child deserves to have a summer camp experience, and that’s why Oklahomans Without Limits, (OWL) Camp was created in 2000 for children who are blind or visually impaired.
Globe Life is donating their corporate meeting facility located on a 3-acre waterfront property valued at $1.8 million. The property includes a caretaker’s cottage and guest house. The donation is one of the most significant gifts in the history of Globe Life.
“We became aware of NewView’s mission to serve sight-impaired children through various summer camps at lakes throughout Oklahoma, and the donation of the Globe Life property at Lake Tenkiller seemed like a perfect fit,” said Globe Life Direct Response President and CEO Bill Leavell.
“Globe Life has used the lodge as a meeting and teambuilding facility for over 50 years. As the company has grown, we’ve outgrown the space, so we are thrilled to be able to pass it on to support NewView Oklahoma. We believe the property will be a terrific venue for NewView’s programs. We can think of no better organization to use the facility to support Oklahoma children.”
OWL Camp activities are specifically designed to encourage collaboration, improve confidence, self-esteem, independence and to challenge societal and self-imposed limits.
Along with sighted “buddies,” campers will have the opportunity to enjoy the property’s many amenities including a tennis court, putting green and two boats for activities such as water skiing and water tubing.
“We are incredibly humbled by Globe Life’s generous gift,” says NewView President and CEO Lauren Branch. “This facility allows us to further enhance the unique experience OWL Camp offers to our clients and volunteers. We look forward to using this facility for many years to come and know the impact will be great.”
OWL Camp is structured specifically to engage sighted children and those with vision loss. Each blind or visually impaired camper is partnered with a sighted buddy for the entire week, and they do everything together. The goal is to provide lasting effects by allowing the sighted buddies to understand that people with vision loss can do anything they can do, with very little adaption.
“Our hope is that the sighted buddies will go back to their peers and share their experience to help eliminate the stigma that is too often associated with kids and disabilities,” Branch said.
NewView Oklahoma is a private, not-for-profit organization founded in 1949 with a mission to empower people who are blind and visually impaired to achieve their maximum level of independence through employment, low vision rehabilitation, and community outreach.
As Oklahoma’s leading employer of the blind and visually impaired, NewView offers the only comprehensive Low Vision clinics in the state, with a location in Oklahoma City at 710 W. Wilshire Blvd., and at 61st & Yale Avenue in Tulsa.
“With unemployment among individuals who are blind and visually impaired above 70 percent, NewView Oklahoma strives to provide gainful employment that brings hope and independence to someone’s life,” Branch said.
To learn more about NewView OWL Camp and other programs and clinical services operated by the organization, visit NewViewOklahoma.org.