Reprinted from the July-August 2018 edition of Advancement News.
The Guide to Advancement addresses council advancement committee responsibilities in Section 188.8.131.52, and it is always wise to ensure that the committee has someone well versed in special needs awareness issues so that other committee members can properly address them when they arise. Better still, the committee can “be prepared” by having a plan in place that will enable it to address things in a proactive instead of a reactive way.
A member of the advancement committee who has experience with special needs Scouting can lead short committee sessions—or even presentations at roundtables or Universities of Scouting—to help everyone understand important tasks, e.g., how to register a Scout with a disability beyond the age of eligibility, how to request alternative merit badges, and, most importantly, to be sure that those charged with leading units that have Scouts with special needs completely understand the requirements for advancement.
This representative can also be the “go to” person when the local council service center receives calls or requests on the topic. Having a single person (or an actual committee, if you are lucky enough) to help answer questions properly the first time, in conjunction with a designated member of the council staff, can ensure that we provide accurate information to ensure advancement can proceed properly for each Scout.
The Scout motto can be used in many different ways, and by having a special needs Scouting representative on your council advancement committee you can be sure that those individuals are prepared to properly guide Scouts, unit leaders, and family members towards a positive experience in Scouting.