WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - Drumming is not the only thing being taught at the Level Up camp for the visually impaired, but it is one of the most empowering. Attendee of the camp Helena Nachtmann said, “I feel really good about it because that’s how I can express myself with music. Music is my life. I love music.” 

The envision level up life skills conference is happening this week with the help of WSU. They are hosting 30 high school age students from all across the nation, some coming from as far as Delaware. Hosts of the event say this is more than just an educational opportunity but a social one too.

Director of Community Programs for Envision, Hannah Christenson said, “This is a unique chance for them to get together. To learn from each other. To share their experiences and also to just build friendships and relationships that take them way beyond the level up program.” 

Most of the individuals working the camp are graduate students from WSU College of Applied Studies getting degrees in special education. One teacher and graduate student, Julie Hawley said, “Being able to see what you see the first day and then just the different impact you’ve had over the past few days is very rewarding.”

The students attending the 7-day camp learn about cybersecurity, welding, broadcasting, culinary arts, financial literacy and so much more. Attendee Helena Nachtmann says, “I can advocate for myself so much better and I helped a gentleman open a door not too long ago.”

They learn from professionals as well as graduate students. Ken Wiseman is the Operations and Facility Manager at GoCreate and is thankful programs like this are open to those who need it most. Wiseman said, “It opens up the[ir] world. When you have certain restrictions that are imposed on you by the world, this helps them to say yea no, we just have to navigate to get to the yes. And that's what we're about- navigating to get to the yes.”

The camp focuses on the power of choice, opportunity, and independence for all. It has been around since 2006 and still impacting new groups of students each year.