"Wheelchair basketball is challenging, but fun. It really makes you think about how people deal with this every day," said Ryan Hartzell of Rochester, N.Y. after he finished playing one of many games arranged for Scouts and Venturers to try out at the Disability Awareness area at Action Point. Other activities include blind run, a cane maze, one-armed volleyball and a walker accuracy course.
"It's mission impossible," exclaimed Spencer Yeh of Long Island, N.Y., after completing a one of those challenges. Reactions of most participants are similar to his as they pass through each challenge, which offer an eye-opening experience and an opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of fellow Scouts and Venturers and others who are disabled. The Disabilities Awareness area is aimed at raising awareness of people with disabilities. Each part of earning their patch allows for a fun and insightful experience that prepares Scouts to understand another person's life.
An advocate for rights of disabled individuals, Eagle Scout Dr. J.R. Harding from Florida, spoke briefly on the history of rights for disabled and the Americans with Disabilities Act. He described projects facilitating universal access to public locations and called for responses from Scouts and Venturers in the audience.
"Accessibility projects will make incredible Eagle projects." says Harding, whose business card reinforces his message. It's embossed in braille, which can be read by touch rather than with the eyes.