Our Mission And A Brief History
The Blind Adventurer Foundation is a non-profit designed to help Blind and visually impaired people experience exciting, engaging and fun activities which can help curb the problems that plague a sizable amount of people with vision issues. These being financial restraints, boredom, low motivation and lack of opportunity. The problems persist as a barrier to entry for many and can be a detriment to their quality of life. The Blind Adventurer Foundation is an outlet to give this sense of autonomy back to those who need it most. This is done by giving them a hurdle to overcome. Which promotes physical activity, comradery, problem solving and time away from their condition.
The average life of a blind and visually impaired person is mostly a test of will. Be it lack of self esteem from being constantly told not to try things because something is too challenging to just going along for the ride because people assume you don’t have the abilities to do it yourself. This can foster a sense of resentment and make many blind people feel excluded and sheltered from regular day activities. This combined with financial woes due to difficulties in employment can create an almost impossible set of circumstances. Which can feel inescapable to those without means to do so. Not everyone has the proper support structure to help them feel fulfilled and allow themselves an outlet to feel like they are in control of their lives.
Ron Walsh is aiming to slowly change this way of thinking. Ron started losing his sight at the age of 32. He was unable to operate a motor vehicle at this point. This did not kill his drive. So he traded in his keys for a mountain bike and within a year he was able to ride solo through the Canadian rockies from Calgary to Victoria over a period of 12 days in 1992. Since then he has also taken up cross country skiing and has raced competitively in Canada and Norway. Ron as of 2017 became the 3rd blind person to successfully climb over the Pacific coast mountains from Dyea Alaska to Bennett Lake British Columbia. Commonly known as the Chilkoot trail. This took 6 days of heavy hiking through rough terrain with not a flat patch of ground to stand on. Just recently Ron was involved in a Canoe trip of a lifetime from Pelican narrows to sandy bay. This was a 10 day voyage encountering untraversable water and high speed rapids. Most of this journey was flowing down The Mighty Churchill River which at the time was at near record high levels and reached a volume way over 1500 cubic meters per second.
Through these events Ron’s mental and physical health has improved drastically. Resulting in employment and a better outlook towards life as a blind person. Physical activity has helped Ron and can help any other person that has been struggling with their visual impairments. The ability to expand horizons from the simple act of getting in touch with nature and allowing oneself to work around their disability and enjoy their lives within the moment and create excitement through successfully surpassing their own self doubt and giving them an outlet to feel at ease with whatever new challenges that may appear.
These benefits may seem simple to obtain for an average person. Yet someone who is blind may not have the resources to do these easily. The Blind Adventurer Foundation was created by Ron to solve the problem of inactivity and lack of opportunity which plagues the blind community as a whole.The Foundation is structured to allow a group of visually impaired or blind people to take on a challenge that would be physically demanding and allow for a sense of accomplishment. This means giving them the tools and experience prior to an event so they can feel confident in performing without concern. From how to set up a camp to navigating the outdoors Successfully. This means we will be accepting people with no experience and allowing them to learn through course training which will be provided by someone with experience in the field of expertise.
The Blind Adventurer Foundation is only successful if we can foster a community of confidence amongst the blind community that can transcend the foundation itself and live on with its members as a badge of honour that can worn for the rest of their lives.