Reprinted from the July-August 2018 edition of Advancement News.
The Guide to Advancement addresses council advancement committee responsibilities in Section 126.96.36.199, 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.
The BSA’s National Disabilities Awareness Subcommittee has a Resources Task Force that maintains lists of resources to help Scouts and leaders address special needs and disabilities. Lists of web site links and mobile apps have been posted to the AbleScouts.org web site under the “Tools” menu.
A list of helpful websites is at ablescouts.org/tools/ndas-links/.
A list of helpful applications appears at ablescouts.org/tools/ndas-apps/.
Bipolar disorder is one of many special needs that we need to understand in Scouting and in life. The negative side of a bipolar individual can be frightening and this prejudices many against anyone with bipolar disorder. Psychological and medical help can control bipolar behavior. Unit leaders can’t automatically exclude anyone based on a disability, especially if a youth member’s parent. Instead, leaders should find out how well the behavior is controlled. Bipolar disorder, like other disabilities, shows different degrees of affliction. Individuals should know where they fit on this scale. This keeps Scouting open to the family where practical and ensures the safety of other youth members.
Councils have tools available to estimate the number of Scouts with disabilities they serve. Three Fires and Erie Shores Councils have conducted surveys over the past few years to quantify and understand the breakdown of Scouts with disabilities within traditional and special needs units. This information helps the council Disabilities Awareness Committees improve service and support the Scouts, parents and volunteers. A one-page survey was included in the re-charter packets for each unit within each district of the councils. Specific objectives include:
- Identify the various disabilities represented within the council’s membership.
- Determine the need to target specific training events by district or council.
- Understand the breakdown of different disabilities within each district.
- Determine how the committee may provide support and/or resources to individuals, units or districts.
Volume 5, Number 4 of Abilities Digest is now available online in PDF. It will be distributed to email subscribers in the next few days. Here is a summary of the contents:
- Recognizing Abilities: Eagle Project of the Year is a fully accessible musical playground. Mary Lynne Capen receives the 2018 Woods Services Award. Nominations for the 2019 Woods Services Award are due December 31.
- Adapting Advancement: Council advancement committees need Special Needs representation.
- Enhancing Awareness: A survey tool to count the number of Scouts with special needs in your council. Considering parents with bipolar disorder as potential unit leaders. Resource lists from the committee’s Resources Task Force.
Reprinted from the Summer 2018 edition of Abilities Digest
Mary Lynne Capen of Patriots Path Council, Northeast Region, is 2018 Woods Services Award recipient. The award was presented at the BSA National Annual Meeting in May.
One award is granted nationally each year to the nominated BSA volunteer who best exemplifies exceptional service and leadership in the field of Scouting with disabilities. The award is sponsored by the Woods Services and Residential Treatment Center of Langhome, PA, in honor of Luther W. Lord, a pioneer in Scouting with disabilities.
Here is the Spring 2018 issue of Abilities Digest, volume 5, number 2. It will be distributed to email subscribers in the next few days.