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Camp Mauchatea

Camp Mauchatea    - Be My Guide


"Mauchatea" means "Be My Guide" in the Narragansett language, and in the 20 years of its existence as an extended overnight camping and adventure, Camp Mauchatea has helped to guide Rhode Island's blind and visually impaired on the journey to adulthood.

When the Rhode Island Lions Sight Foundation in 1992 agreed to expand a modest program originated by the Rhode Island State Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired into a full-fledged week-long camping experience there were few recreational opportunities for Rhode Island's visually impaired youngsters.

In several short years, Camp enrollment has grown from 35 to well over 50 youngsters, and continues to grow. All Rhode Islanders aged 6 to 17 who are legally blind are welcome at Camp Mauchatea at no cost, to include those with multiple handicaps. Camp Mauchatea is held at the Conference Center at Camp Canonicus in Exeter, Rhode Island.

Camper/staff ratio is 2:1, and under the able leadership of Camp Director Linda Hughes, Camp Mauchatea's highly-qualified staff has experienced a low turnover from year-to-year. Two of the junior staff, in fact, are pursuing careers as teachers of the blind as a direct result of their Camp experience.

Camp activities have included:

  • A yearly field trip - in past years, trips have included a ride aboard the Old Colony & Newport Railroad, marine studies tour aboard the Save The Bay vessel Laura Lee, and a trip to the Foxwoods Museum.
  • Swimming, boating, "‘tubing", a fishing derby and other water sports
  • Hiking and Nature study, to include a local farm visit.
  • Crafts and adaptive cooking, in the past, campers have participated in a multi-sensory Creative Arts program funded by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts. 
  • Campfires and sing-a-longs, a camp talent show and dance, and a family picnic and awards ceremony at the conclusion of camp.

Beyond the activities, which some Campers experience for the first time, Camp Mauchatea is a special time in which to develop and maintain friendships that will last a lifetime. Campers and their families, look forward with anticipation every year to a fun filled summer experience when they can enjoy the fun of the great outdoors in Rhode Island that others take for granted.

The goal of the Lions of Rhode Island is to allow every visually impaired child in the state to participate in this unparalleled summer program, and to make Camp Mauchatea even better with passing years.

For more information on Camp Mauchatea, the Camp video "Camp Mauchatea - Be My Guide", or the "Sponsor-A-Camper Program", contact:

Ralph E. Iannitelli
Camp Mauchatea Development Director
P.O. Box 284
Greenville, RI 02828
Telephone: (401) 949-2442