Special Needs at the World Scout Jamboree

The Food focus area provided a food-related sensory challenge. The sensory challenge activity resided on Action Point and was developed by program partners from the Un-prescription Foundation for Autism.

The Communications/Media focus area provided the Communications Inclu- sion Tent in Summit Center that hosted seven challenge activities. The Workforce area hosted another seven activities in the Tent of Possibilities. Transportation hosted the Crutch Obstacle Course and the popular Cane Maze (see photo above), this time featuring Walk/Wait lights with audible warnings. Exploration hosted a “talking” blind compass course.

Jamboree comment cards from participants

These activities collected hundreds of written comments from participants throughout the world. Volunteers have reviewed these comments, translated them into English, and are posting them to the Facebook Group, “Unlock a New World through Inclusion.” The volunteer sharing these comments describes them as “truly inspiring and wonderful to see a glimpse into the youth today who will be our adults of tomorrow.”

The Jamboree activities staffs were expecting challenges from the disabled and were well prepared. All activities welcomed participants with disabilities. Many participated in activities they never dreamed they could do. Volunteers in the Adventure activities took pride in making their activities accessible. The Bows activity offered a “rig” to enable archery shooting by disabled users. A blind Scout used the rig to hit 10 out of 10 shots in the target! Many participants on crutches, or using wheelchairs, were actively involved throughout the Summit Center. The fishing program, residing on the Goodrich Lake waterfront, provided active support for mobility-challenged Jamboree participants.

The WSJ also deployed a Special Needs Support Services team to help disabled participants reach Jamboree activities. They had three buses with professional drivers from West Virginia University and the WVU Medical school. Each could transport two wheelchairs and twelve others. Additionally, the team used two 15-person vans. These services transported approximately 1100 Scouts to activities and back to their camps during the ten days of the WSJ. This included the disabled as well as the “walking wounded” (those who were injured during the Jamboree).