Meet some of our athletes and volunteers!
Cal started participating in ENVISION’s Summer Sports Camp when he was 11 years old and has been an active participant in camps, clinics and the youth goalball team. As a junior and senior in high school he led the VIP Sports High School Goalball team to back to back championships. After graduating from high school Calahan became a counselor with VIP Sports Camp form many years. Calahan recently graduated from SRU with a degree in recreation therapy and a minor in adapted physical activity. During his time at SRU he started a goalball club and helped the formation of college goalball. Cal led the SRU team to 2 national collegiate championships.
Written by Julia
My name is Julia Murray and I have had the opportunity to attend ENVISION Sports Camp and clinics offered at Slippery Rock University. I am 13 years old and was born with a significant visual impairment and I am also deaf. ENVISION has given me experiences that I otherwise would not have been able to do. It has allowed me to be more active and encouraged me to try new things. I have been able to try a variety of sports. Through these activities and experiences I have realized all of the things I can do. I do not have a favorite activity but I have enjoyed most of the sports and the social times I have had at ENVISION. Several years ago I learned how to ski through ENVISION. This was a big surprise to my parents, who didn’t think I could ski because of my balance issues. The counselors were great and within about a half hour I was making my way down the hill and was able to stop on my own. I have since then been skiing several times. This past summer we tried rowing and this winter I started rowing at the Three Rivers Rowing Club. I have also joined the track team and know that my experiences at ENVISION will help me succeed. I would encourage all blind and visually impaired kids to try ENVISION Camps and Clinics. They might find something that they enjoy that will keep them active and healthy. I know my life would not be the same without the opportunities I have had through ENVISION Blind Sports.
Emma participated on the 2018 Tough Mudder Team
My name is Emma Papariella and I am a proud member of ENVISION Blind Sports. I first got connected with this organization through my eye doctor and teach or the visually impaired (TVI). Ever since I have started doing Envision events, my life has been changed in so many ways. This organization means so much to me. They helped me realize that I only had a disability if I made it into one. Before I started attending, I wanted to hide the fact that I had a visual impairment and I was scared when people would ask me about my vision. When I started attending Envision I was able to meet and connect with people who were going through the same things I was going through and I realized that having a disability shouldn’t change me and that I shouldn’t let it stop me from doing anything my sighted peers do. Envision has given me so many great opportunities. I’ve been able to do so many sports like, skiing, goalball, five-a-side (blind soccer), blind ice hockey, and so many other sports. I would’ve never imagined that I would be able to go skiing down a mountain, and now just after 2 years of skiing, I am going down black diamonds and loving every minute of it. I also have joined the Pittsburgh Penguins Blind Ice Hockey team, again ice hockey is something I would’ve never imagined being able to do in my life but Envision found a way. I could never fully explain how much Envision has changed my life and how thankful for them I am. I have learned that you shouldn’t let your disability stop you from doing anything. I have also found something that I am passionate about and that is adapted sports, anyone should be able to participate in sports if they want to. When I go to college in the next couple of years, I want to further my education in adaptive sports so I can give visually impaired and any disabled athlete the same opportunities I have gotten. I am forever grateful for all of the volunteers who give up their days and weeks to spend time with us as we do crazy adventures. I can’t wait for my next adventure with Envision and I hope to meet new athletes at every single event!
Mary Holmes is a volunteer and a former player on the SRU Goalball team.
My name is Mary Holmes and I have been volunteering at VIP Sports camp for four years. I love VIP because it gives our campers the opportunity to participate in a variety of sports and activities that they may not have access to at home or school. I always look forward to the week I get to spend with the campers because even though they may benefit from my help, I feel that I'm the one that truly benefits from such a rewarding experience.