It’s normal for our Cub Scout camp to be swarming with rowdy Cub-Scout-age boys, but yesterday was different.

Special needs individuals of all ages clamored to the camp.

This is a yearly tradition. This time, HIVEs brought 40 young adults up to Camp Jeremiah Johnson for crafting and outdoor activities. The young adults spent the day assembling catapults, learning archery, shooting BB guns, and rowing boats on the pond. 

Special Needs boatingSome of the participants have been coming to the camp for years, and they each have their favorite activity. Summer, one of the girls, said she “loves archery the most because it makes her feel like Katniss from The Hunger Games.”

Another HIVEr said his favorite is the boating, because of “all the fish and frogs you can see in the pond.” 

 “These guys and girls look forward to coming up to camp every year. They just love it,” said one leader.

It is a time for these young adults to get out into nature, and do activities they may not have access to otherwise. The Council provides the activities free of charge to the group, which keeps them coming back year after year. 

Special needs bingoHIVEs tries to do similar fun activities each day by taking the program participants to libraries, community centers, and classrooms that have been donated to them for teaching. While HIVEs doesn’t have a physical location of their own, it doesn’t seem to slow them down. Mike, one of the leaders, said they shuttle the HIVErs around in vans each day to their activities. From the morning til the afternoon, these guys are “in a marathon” of activity, Mike explained. 

I was so inspired to see how loving and caring the leaders are with the participants. Everyone had fun, and it was great seeing this tight knit group of friends enjoying our camp.

My day at camp with these wonderful people warmed my heart and made my day so much brighter. Next year, I hope to see even more of these amazing individuals enjoying nature and learning Scout crafts. 

We would love to hear your input on how your councils work with similar non-profit groups in your community. How has your council been successful in working with special needs groups or individuals with disabilities? 

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Tyler North
Is an Eagle Scout, an avid backpacker, and hunter. He's a Hispanic outreach specialist in his local council.

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