The following are observations by Rick Smith, the Abilities Digest editor and 2022 Woods Services Award winner. This article appeared in the Fall 2022 issue of Abilities Digest.
I’ve served as a volunteer at every Jamboree hosted at the Summit, generally in service of Scouts with special needs and disabilities. At the two National Jamborees, I staffed the Disabilities Awareness Challenge (DAC), which has been renamed, the Special Needs and Disabilities Challenge (SNDC), for the 2023 National Jamboree. The SNDC offers a unique opportunity to serve, to enjoy the Jamboree, and to meet others in the Scouting SND community.
The Jamboree takes place next July at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. Service team members may sign up for the full Jamboree, from Sunday, July 16, through Saturday, July 29. Alternatively, team members may sign up for a half session 7/16-22 or 7/23-29.
If Jamboree service interests you, hurry up! It isn’t too late to sign up, but it will be, soon. For now, the cutoff date is February 28, 2023.
There are three parts to SND service. First is the serious, educational part: help Scouts learn basic facts about special needs and disabilities.
Second is that essential part of Scouting, the fun part: give Scouts a challenging, interactive taste of a disability experience. Popular events in the previous Jamborees have included wheelchair basketball, the crutch obstacle course, mirror drawing, the cane maze, and blind sports (e.g. baseball, shooting, trust run).
The third part is reflection: we stimulate the Scouts to make connections between the disability experience and their own families and communities. Reflection should promote an improved understanding and respect for people with special needs and disabilities. Members of the SNDC service team promote reflection by role playing and asking questions. Everyone on the team learns more about reflection every time they participate.
The SNDC service team is part of the Program Group under Frontier Quest; position #6138. Register now at https://jamboree.scouting.org/jamboree-service-team/.
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