Conquering the Rock Wall

By Ethan Gelinas and Lyndsay Dagg

Dean K. at the rock wall (photo: Jim Garth)

On Tuesday morning, right before lunch, the rock-climbing team had a special challenge: get Dean K., from 1st Leduc, up the rock face to join his friends in the fun. Dean travels around in a wheelchair and normally would not be able to take part in activities like rock climbing but this doesn’t get Dean or his group down.

The rock wall adventure team was ready for their arrival.  They began to prepare for Dean at the station even before the jamboree officially began with a practice run using national youth spokesperson Sarah Savic Kallesoe, as a test dummy. The rock-climbing team manager Trevor said they had received an email from Dean’s mother about two weeks in advance and that he had done similar things to this before but always in a gym, never on an actual rock face.

Dean starts the climb (photo: Jim Garth)

The team worked together to get Dean and his chair up the stairs to the bottom of the rock face. Then, using a pulley system, Dean was hoisted up the rock face without his wheelchair.  Members of his group, along with others participating in the adventure, stood off to the side and watched as Dean slowly ascended the wall. The adventure team worked diligently to keep Dean from cutting himself on the jagged edges of the rock. There was one climber who climbed the rock with him, 2 or 3 spotters at the bottom, and 3 people pulling him up.

Dean nears the top! (Photo: Jim Garth)

Among the cheers from below, comments of “this is what Scouting is all about” could be heard. When Dean made it to the top, the onlooking crowd erupted into cheers.  When we talked to Trevor after he said “to be able to see a smile on Dean’s face” was amazing.

This is only one of the things that are happening to improve the all-around involvement of every youth, no matter their needs. As Trevor said “there are ways to adapt everything” if people are willing to try. The amazing team effort of the OOS involved as well as everyone who watched and cheered them on really showed what scouting is all about


Watch Dean conquer the rock wall:

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