Supporting Adult Leaders with Cognitive Limitations

Scoutmaster in front of tents

A scoutmaster recently asked the National Special Needs and Disabilities Committee about training for “Bob,” an assistant scoutmaster with cognitive limitations. “Bob” assists with simple tasks during daytime events and camp activities, but does not participate in overnights. “Bob” has completed Youth Protection Training (YPT), but not Outdoor Leadership Skills (OLS), which traditionally involves an overnight training event. The Committee identified three strategies:

  1. If “Bob” can complete YPT, he should be able to complete other leader training activities. If he is taking online training, you may provide a helper to ensure that he has absorbed the material and that his replies are properly transmitted. Scouts are allowed similar adjustments to advancement requirements to accommodate problems with communication.
  2. Talk to the district training team about “Bob’s” limitations. Some teams present OLS as a daytime course. It might take multiple sessions for “Bob” to complete the requirements.
  3. Instead of being an assistant scoutmaster, “Bob” could be a troop committee member. This qualifies him as an adult leader to help with troop activities, but does not require OLS training. Troop committees often take the training as a group.

Adult leaders are eligible for training recognitions as long as they complete the requirements.