Welcome to Dixie Land Guide Dog Users Online, and Top Dog-2019!

We Dixie Land Guide Dog Users are the South Carolina affiliate of Guide Dog Users, Inc. Our tails are wagging! Due to the amazing response to our Top Dog-Charleston, 2019, our event hotel is booked to capacity and we are no longer taking registrations. Our heartfelt thanks to all of our registered attendees! We can't wait to see you in January!
For those of you who cannot attend in person, keep those ears up and stay tuned for our recorded sessions to be announced!

Contact the Dixie Land Guide Team!

Contact the Dixie Land Guide Team!
Dixie Land GDU, Inc., 1608 Acacia St., Charleston, SC 29407 (843) 571-0737

We provide education for the sighted community and peer mentoring with advocacy for the blindness community (guide dog, cane and sighted guide users alike), while promoting one community at large.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Official Announcement, Top Dog Charleston, 2010!

It’s official! Mark your calendar for Top Dog, 2010, January 15-17 in beautiful Charleston, SC! All are welcome!

Come enjoy fun, food, fellowship, legendary entertainment and interesting exhibits (including your opportunity to meet with the nation’s top guide dog schools, all under one roof)!

Early registration (before December 15, 2009) is only $60 per person and includes meals, entertainment, Friday evening’s reception, a commemorative T-shirt and cap, plus lots more! Registration after December 15 is $75 per person.

Best Western (250 Spring St.) is offering us the unbelievable nightly rate of only $64.99 for the entire week of January 11th thru the 18th, for those who would like to enjoy more vacation time here in the “Holy City”. To get this rate, you must call the hotel directly at 843-722-4000 and tell the nice folks at the Best Western that you are going to be part of Top Dog, Charleston!

We’ll be posting updates here on the Blog, so check back often to learn more about this upcoming “Funvention”!

To register, Email the Dixie Land Guide Team. or call us (843) 608-6890, with your answers to the following questions.

1. What is your name?

2. What are your snail mail and Email addresses and the best contact number(s) where you can be reached? When is the best time to call you? (Be sure to include your time zone!)

3. What is your guide’s name, if applicable?

4. What is your T-shirt size?

5. Will you need our complimentary ground transportation from the airport, train or bus station? What is your anticipated date of arrival?

Once we receive your answers to these questions, we will be calling you to confirm and arrange payment for your registration fee.

You may also send your registration in print, Braille or on audiocassette, with a check in the amount of $60 per person registering, made payable to Dixie Land Guide Dog Users, at the following address: Laurel Jean, Program Director, 1407 D Trailmore Dr., Charleston, SC 29407.

We’re looking forward to hearing from y’all!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dixie Land Goes to Camp!

July 27 thru 31, Dixie Land Guide Dog Users partnered with Music By Laurel Jean, along with Lakewood United Methodist Church, Lakewood, IL and Grace United Methodist Church, Charleston, SC to host a day-camp-style Vacation Bible School as part of Laurel Jean’s Children's Chaplaincy for blind youth. This event is called "Camp Lakewood", in honor of the Lakewood, IL UMC which presented Laurel with her first Braille Bible when she was a child, and continues to sponsor her Children’s Chaplaincy.

This VBS was designed especially for blind kids, who seldom have an opportunity to fully participate in church. The theme was "Seeing and Being God's Light". Kids shared music (with brailed lyrics), enjoyed devotions (in Braille and audio formats), acted out interactive Bible stories, went on a couple of outings (including a trip to Grace Church) and did other activities, all designed especially for them!

While the kids learned about God and brushed up on their independent living skills, they also were boosting their self-esteems and having lots of fun!

Scroll down thru the next three posts to view highlights from our participation in this special event!

Dixie Land Talks About Jesus at Camp Lakewood!

Dixie Landers meet Camp Lakewood Day-Campers at the entrance to the Mepkin Abbey Labyrinth!

Dixie Land Guide Dog Users was proud to sponsor and participate in Day three of Camp Lakewood, a field trip day, dedicated to Jesus' birth, earthly ministry and death for our sins. We traveled about fifty miles to the Mepkin Abbey, an area monastery. On the way, we did our Worship singing and discussed the first coming of Jesus into the world. Then, we lightened things up with a game of "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral", which neither of the children had ever played before. Even Great-Grandpa Jerry, who drove, got into the fun of the game!

The monastery features a unique labyrinth (maze) made with very tall grasses. The kids got in some practice with their skills traveling with the long, white cane walking thru the maze! It was wonderful to see the kids' confidence increase as they found their own way. Thirteen-year-old S even used her ears to help her travel. The tall grasses bordering the path thru the maze were full of little crickets. "The crickets are like arrows," she exclaimed excitedly. "They point the way for us!"

After our exercise in the labyrinth, we headed for the gardens, where two sculptures awaited us. During HURRICANE Hugo, many trees fell, including two large oaks on the grounds of the monastery. A man looked at the fallen trees and saw a vision of two Biblical depictions, the escape into Egypt and the Crucifixion of our Lord. He brought his chain saw and created two of the most detailed depictions of these scenes we have ever experienced.

We arrived at the first sculpture. S was asked to read to us from her Braille youth Bible the account of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus as they escaped from Herod. Then each child was able to feel the life-sized statue depicting this event.

Then, S read again from her Bible the account of the Crucifixion of our Lord. Just as she read that Jesus proclaimed, "It is finished," the chimes at the monastery chapel began to sound. Only God could have orchestrated such timing.

Each of the children felt the crown of thorns on Jesus' head, His face, His beard, the cross and the nails driven into His hands and feet. Then they joined Laurel Jean in singing a chorus of "This Is The Day" and "Alleluia".

We stopped for lunch in Summerville, where the children were allowed to interact independently with our waiter and waitress. We even sang our table prayer in the restaurant! A big thanks to Jerry, Audrey, Zack, Nancy, Luna, Max, Marti and Jackie for all of their help in making this day a success.

Dixie Land Guide Dog Users on Holy Spirit Friday!

Laurel Jean walks with Camp Lakewood Day-Campers inside Grace United Methodist Church.

Dixie Landers were honored to be present as a successful Camp Lakewood drew to a close. The final day was named “Holy Spirit Friday”. We started with Worship, Music and prayer, then we began talking about the Holy Spirit. Laurel Jean told the children about how Jesus sent the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost. We talked about how the Spirit gave courage to the early Christians and still works today in the Church. We talked about how the Holy Spirit can help us in our daily lives and give us courage to witness as Christians.

After preparing the kids for the day, we paid a visit to Grace United Methodist Church, where Pastor Don prayed with the kids and gave them their Certificates of Completion for Camp Lakewood.

Then, John Johnston, another Camp Lakewood “sighted angel” volunteer, spoke with the kids about the layout of the church. They got to feel a stained-glass window, kneel at the communion rail, and walk up to touch the altar. They even joined Laurel Jean in offering a couple of songs to God in the sanctuary.

After our time at church, we went to Wal-Mart, where there is a McDonalds. Each of the children was allowed to order his/her food independently. As we sat down to the table, the restaurant was very noisy. As we sang our table prayer, the room became very quiet and many people bowed their heads to join us in prayer.

For our Holy Spirit project, we asked Miss Marti to help us pick out items appropriate for the Shoebox Ministry of Operation Christmas Child, a ministry very near and dear to her heart. Dixie Land Guide
Dog Users gave each child $20 to spend on items for the shoeboxes. The kids were allowed to find the items independently on the shelves, put them in the shopping buggy, unload the buggy onto the counter and pay for the items.

We got back in time for the kids to play a few more games of Uno. Miss Marti even joined them for a game!

The real joy came when Laurel Jean asked T to lead our closing prayer. During this prayer, his very first, he openly accepted Christ into his heart. We all cried, as T wrapped up his prayer and told God, "I want you to be in my heart forever, in Jesus Name. Amen."

A Walk of Faith Begins

Pictured here are Audrey and Zack, with Laurel Jean, Pastor Don and Taylor immediately after Taylor’s Baptism.

Sunday, August 9, 2009, Dixie Landers were present at Grace United Methodist Church, Charleston, SC; to joyfully witness fifteen-year-old T publicly profess his Christian faith. Pastor Don baptized him during the 11:00 AM service. There was not a dry eye in God’s house as T professed his faith aloud. Even Pastor Don cried along with the rest of us.

The folks at Grace even presented T with a dramatized audio Bible after handing him his Baptism Certificate.

T was put to work right away. He joined Dixie Land President Nancy Moore in assisting Laurel Jean, Audrey and Zack during the Children's Moment, and sang with Laurel Jean during the Offertory, "Open the Eyes of My Heart" ending with a chorus of "Alleluia". He got a
standing ovation.

Dixie Land Guide Dog Users, Inc. takes pride in promoting not only personal independence, but also the One Who gives us true Freedom in Christ Jesus. Please continue to pray for us all as we nurture this beautiful, young Christian in his newfound faith!

About Us

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Charleston, SC, United States
Dixie Land Guide Dog Users is the South Carolina Affiliate of Guide Dog Users, Inc., the largest guide dog-related organization In the United States.