GLEN JEAN, WV (WVNS) – This week, scouts are challenging themselves to see things from a different perspective.
The 2023 National Scout Jamboree features a Disability Awareness area, with different activities set up to show how life is different for the differently abled. Thursday’s headline activity: Wheelchair Basketball. Alyssa Hightower with the National Special Needs and Disabilities Committee said the activities show scouts something they might not always think about.
“It’s really creating a sense of empathy and trying to teach our youth to understand that it’s not easy for a lot of people, but they still can experience all the same things and opportunities, be it sports, in school, or scouting, and everything else,” said Hightower.
A lot of scouts found not being able to use their legs on the court a little more difficult than they expected.
“To turn you have to stop and, like, throw your arms to move. Whereas turning normally you can just do it,” said Cameron Pool, a scout from Midland, Texas.
“It was definitely interesting trying to navigate through people, because they’re like obstacles and it’s harder to move around obstacles in a wheelchair,” added Dawson Jeffers of Kansas City, Missouri.
Eventually the ball started going through the hoop a little more. But once scouts started getting the hang of wheelchair basketball, they were encouraged to challenge themselves with other activities in the Disability Awareness area.
“We have an obstacle course on crutches. We have a blind cane maze where they need to navigate without being able to see. In the mornings we offer up laser BB’s, so even people who cannot see are able to do shooting sports,” Hightower told 59News.
After they finished all that, they could even try out a drawing challenge that reflected what people with invisible disabilities, like Dyslexia and Dysgraphia, experience.