Five girls hung on for dear life while being pulled around a lake on a 6-foot yellow torpedo. Though two of the five girls couldn't see where they were going, they grinned, anticipating a wrong turn might lead to a dip in Rice Lake.
Katie Kress, 10, Stillwater, bounced a foot in the air before springing off the tube after it hit waves.
"I like it when we tip over and when we go on bumps," she said after the ride.
The girls tubing, some of 16 campers, are attending North Star Camp in Brainerd this week for blind campers. One week at the camp has changed the lives of many blind or legally blind people who attend the camp year after year, said Derral Reeve, North Star Camp director.
He said the weeklong camp gives many people self-confidence to tackle other challenges in their daily lives.
Al Powell, Christian Services for the Blind Iowa area director, said the camp's purpose is to provide opportunities for the campers they wouldn't have ordinarily.
North Star Camp provides the opportunity for campers to rock climb, water ski, horseback ride and canoe, among other activities.
"They challenge themselves with activities they didn't think they could do," Reeve said.
Anne Naber, 10, St. Paul, has transformed in the few days she has been at camp for the first time, Reeve said. Her mother was worried about leaving her for a week. Naber's mother stayed at the camp for four hours Sunday to be sure Naber would be comfortable, Reeve said.
"(Naber) was so shy she wouldn't talk to anybody else," Reeve said. But by Tuesday she was comfortable enough to talk to strangers.
Eric Mathiowetz, 28, St. Paul, said he keeps coming back to North Star Camp "because it's a good camp and it helps you strengthen your relationship with God."
Every morning and night the camp staff tells a Bible story and leads songs. This year they are acting out Bible stories in the first person.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church owns North Star Camp, and Christian Record Services for the Blind -- which is affiliated with the church -- sponsors the camps across the country. Area directors recruit campers to attend the camps.
The first camp was in 1967 in Florida. North Star Camp has had a week for blind campers for about 30 years, Reeve said.
Selmer Bender, 55, has been coming to camp so long, he can't remember exactly how many years. He said he enjoys horseback riding, canoeing and riding in the speed boat.
Teen-agers between 13 and 15, often staying over from teen camp, become counselors in training during blind camp. They become each blind camper's guide throughout the week.
While attempting to climb the wall for the second time in two days, Tara Bowen, 18, Chaska, slowly made her way up the wall with instruction, support and cheering from two counselors in training. Once she climbed above their reach, a third counselor climbed a ladder up the side of the wall to give Bowen instructions as she climbed higher.
"The (counselors in training) get so close to these kids they can get them to do things their parents can't get them to do," Reeve said. "They overcome their fears with encouragement from other campers."
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