League Spotlight - VCC Blind and Visually Impaired League

"I'm enjoying my experience [with the Blind & Visually Impaired League] more than I could have imagined. I would have joined sooner than this if I'd known I'd have so much fun," shares Linda, a member since 2014. Blind and visually impaired curlers throughout the Lower Mainland have been active in the sport since 1962. The league was formed by Joe Lewis, then an employee of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). In 1974, the league moved from its original home, the Pacific Curling Club, to the old Vancouver Curling Club on Dinmont Avenue. The League continues to curl at VCC every Wednesday from 12pm - 2pm.

"Curling for individuals with visual impairments provides a type of "sight" that would otherwise not exist," says Carol Kent, long time volunteer and League Rep. "Volunteers use a combination of sounds, bright lights, physical cues, and verbal direction to help the blind curlers "see" the sheet of ice, and help them throw the correct line and weight."

Members are deeply committed to the sport. Linda explains: "I travel from Surrey every Wednesday for our curling practices, with Jeeves, my loyal yellow lab guide dog. We take 2 buses and the Skytrain. A one way commute takes us 2 hours, we leave home just before 9:00 am and we return home at around 4:00 pm."

"I'm willing to devote an entire day, once a week, to be able to participate with the VCC Blind & Visually Impaired League. The socialization, skill development, and the camaraderie of being part of a team is crucial for my emotional and physical well being. Without these types of recreational outlets, I could easily become isolated, lonely, and dependent on my family. Having a reason to get out regularly promotes self confidence and independence."

The League is made up of fourteen members, a few furry friends and a cohort of dedicated volunteers who support members in realizing success on the ice. League members value their friendships with volunteers, and along with VCC, are grateful for their commitment.

If you know a curler, who may be diagnosed with macular degeneration, please let them know they can continue to participate in the great game by joining the VCC Blind & Visually Impaired League. The League welcomes both new members and volunteers. For more information, please contact Carol Kent: carolkent@telus.net.

Blind & Visually Impaired League members and the Vancouver Curling Club thank the Province of BC for their continued financial support.