My Week at Tech Boyz Camp


By Riley Esmay, OR H&V

I am a 12-year-old who lives in Oregon. It is hard to find kids around my age with a hearing loss, so I was excited to learn about a camp called Tech Boyz in Rochester, New York just for kids around my age who have a hearing loss. It was at R.I.T. (Rochester Institute of Technology) for incoming 7-9th graders who are deaf or hard of hearing. I have a bilateral hearing loss and wear hearing aids in both ears.

When I first got to camp I was a little nervous because I do not know how to sign and a lot of people there were signing.  I went to my dorm room and saw that my roommate signs.  That was scary at first but I realized he felt the same way and we both thought we would just deal with it.  After that we went outside where a lot of people were signing and playing four square.  I found another person who did not know how to sign whose name was Harrison.  We hung out together until they wanted everyone to meet and go over what we would be doing that week.  After that we went and ate dinner at Gracie’s, the only restaurant on the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) Campus.  NTID is one of nine schools at R.I.T.

That night we went swimming at the swimming pool.  It was different.  It was quieter than when I go swimming at home with my friends.  I liked how it was quiet. We used a lot of gestures and facial expressions to communicate with each other.  Not many people were even signing while we were in the pool.

We also went bowling, had socials in the evenings, explored the Museum of Science and Technology, and Sea Breeze.  For these activities we were partnered up.  It was fun to be around other kids my age with a hearing loss and do different activities because they understood what it was like and could accept me for who I am.  I did not have to explain that I cannot hear very well.  It made me feel more comfortable and safe.  I could just relax and have fun.

The next day we started to program the video games.  During the video game programming we developed two games: Brick Breaker and Alien Invasions.  Our first game Brick Breaker, wasn’t easy, but on the second day I finished the Alien Invaders game.  It was fun to make our own video game.  Each of us was given an Ipod Touch to take home.  This was very cool.

While at camp I learned how to program video games.  I also learned that even though someone signs you can still communicate together. My roommate and I established our own signs with each other. I wish we could have been there longer.  I was sleepy but it was a lot of fun. This camp helped me to accept my hearing loss better. It also helped me to realize that just because I have a hearing loss it does not mean that I cannot do what other hearing kids can do.  I can accomplish whatever I set my mind on doing.  It is up to me; not my hearing loss.  If you like to socialize with people and like technology, you would like this camp, too.

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