Thousands of people have enjoyed a range of outdoor activities this week, from abseiling to robotics, at the VicJam Scouts event in Elmore, Central Victoria.
- The VicJam was held in Elmore from December 29 to January 7
- 4,500 people camped at the Elmore Events Centre
- For those with special needs, tasks were modified and special equipment was used to make activities more accessible
But for around 20 people with special needs, more thought was needed for them to take part in activities.
Some of the scouts in Sue Adams' group never would have imagined they would be able to go on a flying fox or do pioneering.
"The smiles on the faces of my youth members, it's just so amazing," she said.
Ms Adams is the team leader of the Manningham Tende Beck Scout Group.
Each person in the group has a disability and most are non-verbal.
Yatish is one of those scouts.
He has cerebral palsy and uses a motorised vehicle to get around.
To get him up onto the flying fox, a team used special equipment including a hoist, shackles and a scissor lift.
"Yatish flying through the air … he's just so stoked," Ms Adams said.
"Every time we mention it, he can't stop laughing."
His team leader says he never imagined he would have this opportunity before he joined scouts.
Providing experiences to those with a disability
Matthew Ellis, deputy youth commissioner with Scouts Victoria, said they added special equipment and adjusted programs to make activities accessible for people with disabilities.
"We've definitely done everything possible to make sure that everyone can participate in these activities," Mr Ellis said.
Scouts Victoria executive manager Jon McGregor said there were limited options at most school camps for those with severe disabilities.
"We try to work out exactly to what extent each individual can participate, and we modify the activities wherever we can."
One example, and a highlight of the week, was 'Outback World'.
It included pioneering skills, with ropes, logs and more.
Ms Adams said while some in her group joined in on the mainstream activities, some activities were specialised to suit individuals.
In one activity, two scouts in her group used a standard rope bridge.
But Yatish used one that was especially made for him.
"They've made another bridge that is palettes with wooden decking, suspended only 5cm above the ground on chains," she said.
It meant Yatish could go on the bridge in his chair and get the feeling of being suspended above the ground like others felt with the rope bridges.
Mr Ellis said the event was in stark contrast to the past two years of trying to teach outdoor skills and hold events over Zoom.
"People with both special needs and without have had a smile from ear to ear [this week]," he said.
"They're just happy to be back outdoors after a very difficult two years."