‘A Memorable Visit to the Lighthouse’s Deaf-Blind Retreat’, by Executive Assistant Josh Russell
“Tonight is the big dance, are you excited? “ It’s a question I was asked over and over when I arrived at the Lighthouse’s annual Deaf-Blind Retreat this year. Though I had been to camp the last four years, this was the first time that I was spending the night. Not only that but it was the night of the dance, one of my favorite activities. Yet I kept asking myself: ‘How do Deaf-Blind people hear the music to dance to?’
As I enjoyed my day of playing large block Jenga, practicing my tactile American Sign Language, and relaxing with the sun on my face, I couldn’t stop thinking about the evening’s dance and all the questions racing through my head. After dinner, I headed over to the dance hall and opened the door… there in front of me was a dance floor, just like any other, packed with people dancing with big smiles on their faces, having fun. The music was loud, and the bass even louder, and that’s when it hit me — the bass, the VIBRATIONS! That’s how Deaf-Blind folks can “hear” the music to dance to. Well I’ve never met a dance floor I didn’t like, so I happily joined in! One hour led to two which led to three, four, and soon I was a drenched in sweat, my cheeks in pain from all the laughter, and memories to last me a lifetime.
I learned that in the end, it’s not about hearing the music or seeing the disco ball, it’s about having fun, about laughing with your friends, and meeting new ones, and simply connecting with one another as people, as equals. This is what I was reminded about for the rest of my time at the Deaf-Blind Retreat, and everyday working at The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., and I am extremely proud to have the opportunity to be a part of it.
Though it wasn’t my first time at the Deaf-Blind Retreat, it was definitely the most memorable.