The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Walking, assisted by staff, Allan joined a group reposing under a tree Thursday afternoon in the middle of Cibubur camping ground in East Jakarta.
Allan had come with 22 other participants, all the way from Bitung in North Sulawesi, to the five-yearly National Special Scout Jamboree.
This was the fifth day of activities, which began Nov. 18, organized by the National Scouts Committee. Allan was one of 532 special scouts at the event, who were blind, deaf, hyperactive, physically or mentally handicapped, from 17 provinces including Jakarta (which sent the most, 142 scouts).
This was the seventh Special Scouts Jamboree since 1972 involving youths aged between 11 and 21, from second and third scout levels.
As many as 334 scout leaders and doctors were at hand to accompany participants in the activities, which included sending messages in semaphore, outdoor games and making handicrafts.
"The purpose of this camp is to pass on knowledge as well as to foster friendships among participants from different provinces," a spokesperson of the committee, Septembrianti, said.
She said there should be no differences between activities for regular and special scouts.
"For example, even if scouts are mentally challenged they can participate in the same activities as others, only it may take them longer, receiving assistance."
Suryawan, a finance official of the committee, said the Public Welfare Ministry and the State Ministry for Youth and Sports Affairs allocated funds to support the event.
"But each participant had to pay Rp 200,000 (US$23) to pay for food, shirts, a hats and scarfs."
Anang Suparman, the program organizer, said each contingent deployed numerous scout guides to help disabled participants because the committee could not provide enough facilities, such as providing signage in braille for blind participants.
"This year's camp still did not teach them to be independent, because they could ask for help from guides if they had any difficulties," he said.
Andreas, a guide from the North Sumatran contingent, said he needed to be patient to handle 10 scouts who were deaf, blind and mentally handicapped.
"We teach them simple things like codes and ropes," he said.
Samuel, a mentally handicapped participant from Medan, North Sumatra, said he was happy at the jamboree, since this was the first time he could make friends with people from other provinces.
"I love outdoor games because they are challenging," he said. (ewd).