Kootenay Konnection 2022
Contribution by guest editor, Jamie Corpuz, TDHH, Rocky Mountain School District
After a 2 year hiatus, the students who are deaf or hard of hearing in the Kootenays were FINALLY able to get together at Blue Lake Camp. This event, also known as the Kootenay Konnection, was sponsored by the Provincial Outreach Program – Deaf & Hard of Hearing (POPDHH) in collaboration with the Teachers of the Deaf & Hard of Hearing for SD5 Southeast Kootenay, SD6 Rocky Mountain, SD8 Kootenay Lake, SD 10 Arrow Lakes, SD20 Kootenay-Columbia, and SD51 Boundary.
The level of excitement was high as this was the first field trip for many students since COVID-19 restrictions were placed in schools. There were 14 students between grades 4 -11 and a mix of experienced and new campers. They were joined by John Warren, ASL Specialist at POPDHH and his Visual Sign Language Interpreter, Meg, from Vernon. For several students, this was their first time interacting with a Deaf individual and communicating with them through an interpreter.
Although the rain came and went, the enthusiasm and positive energy were maintained with the help of the amazing Blue Lake Camp staff. Through Capture the Flag, high ropes challenges, ASL activities, perogy-making, Man Hunt, campfire ASL stories and songs, these shared experiences helped create memorable moments, new friendships and community.
Here is what the SD6 students had to say:
“If I could change something from this trip it would be the weather and give us more time to sleep.” – Nevaya, Grade 4
“Blue Lake Camp was one of my favourite places to go. I wish I could go there every single day!” – Rileyann, Grade 5
“Blue Lake Camp was amazing! I learned so much from John with his signing and he gave me a sign name. That’s pretty cool!” – Belle, Grade 7
“I rocked the ropes course!” – Logan, Grade 8
“I enjoyed meeting the students I’ve only seen on Teams. I also enjoyed learning about Deaf culture from John.” – Sarah, Grade 8
“Blue Lake Camp was awesome! Everything was awesome! I liked meeting all the camp counselors. I hope to go back next year!” – Matt, Grade 9