Our school pupils are breaking down barriers between Deaf and hearing young people with a unique Sea Scouts camping event at the Academy this summer.
Six of our residential pupils, members of 1st Topsham Sea Scouts will be hosting an evening of outdoor activities for 11 hearing friends from their scout troop. Our pupils will then continue their adventure, by pitching tents and camping overnight on the playing field.
The event in June will be the first of its kind held here at the Deaf Academy, with the aim of helping to build stronger bonds between Deaf and hearing young people in the community. The scouts will be learning to pitch a tent, techniques for keeping their kit tidy and test their skills tying knots.
Joy Lovett, from 1st Topsham Sea Scouts is one of the scout leaders supervising the event.
“1st Topsham Sea Scouts are very keen about the event, which is marvellous. The interaction between the sea scouts from the Deaf Academy and the others in our troop is so good that several of the hearing sea scouts have taken the initiative to learn BSL. They are practising regularly and becoming more confident”.
Academy pupils in the scout group for boys and girls aged 12 to 15, have already been raising Deaf awareness by teaching their fellow sea scouts British Sign Language (BSL).
Exeter Deaf Academy Care Officer Charlie Sutherland will also be on duty. He said:
“All 1st Topsham Sea Scouts will be on the site for this event and it’s the first of its kind at the Academy. It will be sending out a message that Deaf children are no different to hearing children, they all love to have an adventure and want to get out and experience life.”
“Our Deaf pupils are treated as equal in the troop. Each week the sea scouts learn signing, our pupils teach have taught them how to sign their name”.
Charlie explained that being part of the troop is a great way for Deaf young people to learn independence and life skills, as they all take an oath to respect each other, and to respect adults and children in the wider community. Scouts are also taught to overcome differences between young people, as they learn about equality and find out about how there are scouts across the globe. Charlie said:
“Our sea scouts are very aware of the communication challenges that Deaf Academy students face. It’s part of our general awareness of how we can help each other and be part of the community”.
The 1st Topsham Sea Scouts, ranges from Beavers age 6 up to Scouts aged 15, and has been running for more than 100 years. Sea Scouts enjoy weekly activities to earn badges for skills such as Fire Safety and First Aid.
Earlier this year, 1st Topsham Sea Scouts, hosted a fundraising Bingo Night and cake sale in Topsham Village Hall to help fundraise for a new Topsham Adventure Centre (their new scout hut). They invited the local community in to play bingo, buy cakes and together they raised over £200.
The scouts currently meet at various sites around Topsham such as church halls, while a new hut is being built at their former home in Ferry Road, Topsham.