MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Claremore resident Hunter Kelley earned a Top Scouts medal at the sixth Oklahoma Regional Cane Quest competition hosted recently in Muskogee by the Oklahoma School for the Blind.
Kelley is a fourth grader who attends OSB.
The Scouts category includes grades 2 through 6.
Thirty contestants from across the state participated in Cane Quest.
Expert cane skills increase independence by helping for blind or visually impaired users scan for obstacles or landmarks used for navigation. White canes also remind drivers to yield the right of way to pedestrians with white canes
Oklahoma contestants in grades two through six competed on the OSB campus with a volunteer teammate from the community. They demonstrated proper cane techniques, self-protective methods, search for dropped objects and human guide skills. They earned coins for properly demonstrating skills, which they later traded for prizes.
Contestants in grades seven through twelve competed near the Muskogee Civic Center in the downtown area. They earned points for demonstrating advanced skills, such as street crossings, asking for directions and negotiating sidewalks.
“Cane Quest motivates students to refine their cane travel skills and orientation skills in order to compete against other students,” said Faye Miller, OSB certified orientation and mobility instructor and Cane Quest regional coordinator. “They practice these skills for months before the event, making them more effective and independent travelers without them even realizing benefits related to safety and self-sufficiency.”
“Contestants also have the opportunity build self-esteem by showing off their skills to the many community volunteers who help with the event,” Miller said. “The volunteers, on the other hand, see the proof that cane users who are blind can travel safely and independently in unfamiliar areas.”
In addition to OSB, Regional Cane Quest sponsors include the Braille Institute of America, OG&#, Frank Dirksen, NANOPAC, Inc., NewView Oklahoma, LS&S, Sapulpa Lions Club, Ruth Kelly Studios, Oklahoma Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired and Muskogee County Oklahoma Home and Community Education.
Cane Quest is a national program of the Braille Institute of America, based in Los Angeles, California.
OSB is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
The academic program for OSB residential and commuter students meets all state-mandated education requirements. Students also receive specialized instruction in Braille, orientation and mobility and other areas. They attend classes Monday through Thursday free of charge and are transported home for three-day weekends during the regular school year. OSB staff also assist students with vision impairments who attend other public schools, their families and educators.