Hundreds of Hikers Join the Boy Scouts has a New disAbled Awareness Trail is dedicated at Camp Agawam in Lake Orion, Michigan

(PRWEB) October 14, 2004

Hundreds of Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and their families enjoyed the crisp early autumn weather at Camp Agawam near Lake Orion, Michigan on Sunday October 3rd. Scouts took in the early fall colors while hiking along the many trails in one of the oldest continuously operating Boy Scout camps in the country.

The highlight of the day’s event was the opening and dedication of the “disAbled Awareness Trail” The trail is a legacy of the late Ron Emmit , member of the all volunteer Chief Pontiac Trail Committee who developed the concept over eight years ago. The dedication ceremony was lead by Mike Jewell, a volunteer Scouter and Native American. At the conclusion of the ceremony the first hikers were lead by “Ranger”, a Golden Retriever companion dog trained by Gail Montgomery of Paws With a Cause. The trail’s intent is to inform the public about programs for Boy Scouts with disabilities.

Stretching just over a half mile, the wooded trail has various stations that offer interactive displays to experience the challenges that the disabled must overcome in their daily lives. The trail ends at “Fort Pontiac”, a working replica of a 1700’s fort, where visitors can see demonstrations of 18th century blacksmithing, bread baking, and woodworking.

“The dedication of the disAbled Awareness Trail is just a start.” noted Dave Putt, member of the Committee. “We are looking for partnerships in the community to enhance our program and the trail. In the future we would like a blacktop surface, Braille signs and barrier free bridge that crosses part of the trail.” Putt added, “This is another part of an overall program that Scouting utilizes for the visually, mobility and mentally impaired Scouts in Macomb and Oakland Counties.”

Background About Scouts With Disabilities and Special Needs

Since its founding in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has had fully participating members with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. James E. West, the first Chief Scout Executive, was himself disabled. Although most of the BSA’s efforts have been directed at keeping such boys in the mainstream of Scouting, it has also recognized the special needs of those with severe disabilities.

In August 1977, the first handicap awareness trail was incorporated into the program of the national Scout jamboree at Moraine State Park in Pennsylvania. More than 5,000 Scouts participated.

Today, approximately 100,000 Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers with disabilities are registered with the Boy Scouts of America in more than 4,000 units chartered to community organizations.

About the Chief Pontiac Trail

The Chief Pontiac Trail Committee is volunteer group of Scouters operating a hiking trail system with outdoor experiences for all age groups. The Chief Pontiac Trail Program is administered through the Clinton Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America serving Oakland and Macomb Counties. Although primarily focused to support the Boy Scouts of America program (Tiger Cubs, Cubs, Webelos, Boy Scouts, Venturers and Explorers), all youth groups are welcome to participate. Youth groups interesting in learning more about the disAbled Awareness Trail can contact Camp Agawam at (248) 693-8821.


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