Excerpted from Scouting Magazine, March-April 2018
On Action Point, at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, there stands a bronze statue of young Stephen G. Marriott (1957-2013) in his Scout uniform. Stephen was a business leader, Distinguished Eagle Scout, and advocate for people with disabilities. His statue overlooks the site of the Disabilities Awareness Challenge during the 2013 and 2017 National Scout Jamborees. In the future the site will contain a permanent facility dedicated to disabilities awareness.
The forthcoming center will give Scouts the opportunity to experience some of the disabilities that people with physical challenges must live with every day. Scouts will take training and complete exercises to help them get a feel for what it would be like to have these kinds of challenges.
Scouters from all councils are invited attend a bilingual Wood Badge course conducted in both English and American Sign Language (ASL). The Great Salt Lake Council offers this course July 9-14, 2018, at the Monson Training Lodge. More information can be found at https://www.saltlakescouts.org/WB-ASL.
The course uses a modified curriculum to enable and encourage both Deaf and hearing participants to engage with one another in a cooperative and supportive manner, while learning crucial leadership skills. Each leadership concept is presented in both ASL and English and all video presentations are closed captioned. A crew of full time interpreters interpret leadership concepts when presented and to assist in other communication needs between Deaf and hearing participants.
“Scout Jay has serious vision impairment, but he’s really excited about the Astronomy Merit Badge. Can he earn it?”
Substitute any merit badge for “Astronomy” and you have a common but tricky question. The answer lies in the exact written requirements. Scout Jay must meet the requirements exactly as written, no more and no less. If a disability prevents him from completing the requirements, then Jay must earn a different merit badge.
Modern merit badge requirements are often flexible to benefit Scouts with disabilities. For example, most merit badges don’t explicitly require reading, writing, or speaking. Instead of saying “Write a list of the five most visible planets,” or “Recite a list of the five most visible planets,” the Astronomy requirement simply says “List the five most visible planets.” The form and structure of the list is not part of the requirement.
What: DIVERSEability and DisABILITY – How to apply proper methods in Scouting with Special Needs.
Where: Philmont Training Center
When: PTC Course Week 8 (July 29-August 4)
This course is for Scouters, Staff, and parents that have a passion for helping Scouts with DisAbilities become involved in all that Scouting has to offer. This course will help you to; start or strengthen a Disabilities Awareness Committee within your Council, show Scout Leaders proper procedures, modifications, resources, and supports that can help our Scouts with Special Needs experience the outing in Scouting. See how you can help Scouts; advance at all levels, experience programming, feel included and empowered to make a difference in the lives of others along with helping their communities.
There is now a medal available for the Special Needs Scouting Service Award: Item #641463, available from Scout Shops. The design features an international logo for Scouting with disabilities. A device with the same logo is available to wear on the Scouting Service Award square knot: Item #641462.
Previous recipients are eligible to wear this new medal. It must be special-ordered by the Council.
Summertime means summer camp for most Scouts. Every Scout wants to take part and, more importantly, have fun. This takes preparation, especially for Scouts with special needs.
The unit leader should take some time to think about each Scout as an individual and how each will react to summer camp routine. This is especially true of new Scouts who have not attended camp before. Identify roadblocks: features of camp life that prevent the Scout from participating or feeling comfortable. Make sure that one or more unit leaders watch for those roadblocks and are ready to help bring the challenge within reach of the Scout’s abilities.
The Torch of Gold is a council-level distinguished award of the Boy Scouts of America to recognize adults for exceptional service and leadership in working with Scouts who have disabilities. Each council may recognize one Scouter per year with the award. Details are listed on the nomination form, available online.
The nominee must be a registered Scouter with at least three years of volunteer service supporting Scouting with disabilities. The service may be in any Scouting leadership capacity related to Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers with disabilities, including educating other Scouters about disabilities and working with youth who have disabilities.