Minister for Disability Services Curtis Pitt today launched Disability Action Week at Scouts Queensland’s ‘Agoonoree’ – an annual, week-long camp at Baden-Powell Park in Samford where more than 70 young people with a disability join scouts and guides to participate in activities.
Mr Pitt said Queensland’s Disability Action Week ran from 18 to 24 September 2011.
“Disability Action Week is an opportunity for the community to come together to shine a spotlight on social inclusion and access issues, and to celebrate the achievements and contributions of people with a disability,” Mr Pitt said.
“This important message is reflected in this year’s theme which is ‘Empower, enable, everybody’.
“Disability Action Week encourages positive attitudes towards people with a disability, reminding us to focus on a person’s achievements, abilities and contributions in every aspect of community, social and economic life.
“Disability touches the lives of thousands of Queenslanders, their families and carers, which is why Disability Action Week is such an important event on the Queensland calendar.”
During the launch the Minister presented Scouts Queensland with a Minister’s Award for Excellence, recognising the organisation’s efforts in including children and young people with a disability in the scouting movement.
Mr Pitt said each year for 31 years, Scouts Queensland and Guides Queensland invited about 70 children as ‘guests’ to participate in the camp.
“Campers are encouraged to participate in the day, night and free-time activities run by qualified leaders from Scouting and Guiding such as abseiling, camp craft, movie night disco, crafts, sports and more,” he said.
“These activities are designed to specifically cater for the children, developing creative, social, physical and self esteem skills while still maintaining Scouts and Guides interest.
“I commend Scouts Queensland for introducing this initiative all those years ago and recognising that inclusion of people with different needs is vital to our community.
“I also congratulate them on their annual Scouts in Action Week with the theme this year of ‘Disability Awareness’.
“Thousands of scouts have been participating in activities to increase their disability awareness and achieve badges in this field.”
Chief Commissioner Maurice Law AM said the Agoonoree Scout camp provides a great opportunity for children with special needs to experience a whole week of Scouting and Guiding.
“This camp over the years has had a profound impact on the lives of our Youth Members from all over Queensland,” Mr Law said.
“It provides the basis for improving life skills and for some setting a future career path.”
Mr Pitt said each year the government supported community groups and organisations across Queensland to celebrate Disability Action Week by staging their own events.
“The Queensland Government is delighted to have provided almost $200,000 in funding through the Building Supportive Communities grants program this year for Disability Action Week events across Queensland,” he said.
“This funding has allowed over 50 community groups to support local events that strengthen the community’s capacity to welcome and include people with a disability in everyday life.”
Mr Pitt said the Disability Action Week Awards were another highlight of the week recognising individuals and organisations that have contributed to improving the quality of life for people with a disability in Queensland.
“These awards give us all a chance to acknowledge those special members of our community who have made an outstanding contribution to ensuring people with a disability are included and supported as much as possible,” he said.
The Disability Action Week Awards will be presented at the Queensland Disability Conference gala dinner in Cairns on Thursday 22 September.
For more information about Disability Action Week, including the events calendar, visit www.communities.qld.gov.au/disability or call 1800 177 120 or TTY 1800 010 222.
Information for people with a disability, their families or carers is available at www.qld.gov.au/disability