@Turtlepower, I've commented on this issue before, but I don't mind discussing it again.
in the Uk, there are a few specialist schools but not as many as there used to be, and it's certainly not manditory to go. I myself went to a normal school from age 5-7, then went to a specialist school for the next three years to improve my reading. Then, because my local authority decided it was cheaper to setup their own unit I went to a normal mainstream school from age 11-15, but one which had about 15 other blind kids and supposedly specialist assistance. After that from doing my A levels onward I went back to normal school and was the only blind person.
In general, from both my personal experience, the discussions I've had withb people who've been to specialist schools and the research I've done, I'm very much against specialist education. I'm sure there are some decent people working in such, (indeed I can think of a couple of nice staff at myy own specialist school albeit my teacher was a ringer for prof umbridge), however there are two major problems.
The first is social. With such a small group of people, generally isolated from the outside world, people do not learn to communicate with sighted kids at all, or with others in the world. A lot of people I know who went right through the specialist school system come out the other end and spend all of their time doing nothing but sitting and talking to those few blind friends they made at specialist school on skype and it wouldn't occur to them to learn how to socially interact with sighted people. the second is practical. In specialist schools (just as with a lot of specialist institutions), while training exists, generally ecause the children involved are inherently within that set system, "the system" becomes God. For example in my specialist school there were things like the liquid level indicators specially designed for a certain measure of tea and one of milk, the set routine on bells, the way of learning things like typing which was so slow and stratified that people learnt in groups of letters, not to mention bells for everything and abslutely no care given to individual preference. My brother once coined the term "clockwork mice" for those who came out of that sort of system, and he was correct. Such people often have little motivation to try things for themselves and also have been taught to "take what they are given and like it " (a favourite saying of my specialist school).
To take one example, one person I spoke to who I used to know at my specialist school said he was a fan of racing games after he'd been to a blindness camp and someone showed him top speed. I asked him if he knew about this forum, about rail racer, about Jim Kitchin's mac one, he replied "I didn't look" He'd found something he enjoyed, but instead of thinking "hold on lets try and get more out of this" he simply took what he had been shown and left it at that (he didn't even have any extra cars or tracks for top speed other than those he had been given).
Ironically in fact, one thing I've noticed is that very few people from the specialist system tend to become involved with audio games which I suspect is to do with this lack of motivation, sinse fundamentally audiogames are something a person has to go out and try for themselves!
This isn't to say mainstream education always works either. My secondary school failed sinse the school itself was a complete and utter hole! I've also heard of cases where children have a perminant classroom assistant and so never interact with other sighted kids at all sinse the assistant is always hovering over their shoulders and the class teacher does nothing to include them in lessons expecting the assistant to effectively "teach" the blind child. Equally, without skills like mobility and dayly living skills provided in a specialist school (or in my case at home by my parents), a person is dependent upon whatever training either a local authority or charity can provide and these can be extremely hit and miss depending upon the person and the organization.
Still, despite the issues sinse I've seen people very badly stuck due to specialist education I'd say mainstream is a better option provided that it is firstly the right school (really anyone would've had a bad time at my secondary school), and that the staff are decent.
As regards training centers, camps etc, well actual centers or courses are less common in the Uk for younger people, though there is a lot for old folks (mostly because the Rnib is very good at forgetting anyone who won't give them money in their will doesn't exist). I've seen smaller camps, occasional courses and the like, indeed i did once go to one sinse I knew the lady who was running it and knew her to have a good attitude about blindness.
It depends however very much upon the person and the organization who runs these, and they tend to vary hugely, and unfortunately sinse the Rnib are the main organization and a lot of government services that should by rightly be administered centrally are palmed off on them, you usually have to look around for other stuff
For example, in my local city Nottingham, the supposed "goal ball association" is made up of exactly four men who meet up every time there is a tournament, don't train together or encourage others and really are a lore unto themselves, (welcome to good old blind cleaquism). In the next county over in Derby however, there are several teams, a local tournament and regular coaching sessions for interested parties, mostly because the guy who runs the association in Derby is a very compitant and athletic chap who puts in the time, even though he gets no more recognition than the Loser from Nottingham.
The one key thing I'd say makes a good training course would be individuality and ability of the instructors to focus on what a person can achieve and wants to achieve, and help them! not just make them an adjunked to the instructor's own system, or force them to use the instructor's own methods rather than an alternative. I have mentioned the hilariously bad local authority mobility officer who attempted to get me to step count a route to find a turning, despite the fact I really don't do step counting (she called me various nasty things when I didn't), ---- without mentioning that five steps past the turning was a cattle grid! for god's sake! a cattle! grid!
With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)