Scouting is a Special Place

Reprinted from the Spring 2017 Abilities Digest, from the Invisible 411 blog.

Here is a reading that is often used in training to support Scouts with disabilities.

Life can be cruel, and growing up in the real world isn’t easy. Kids pick on other kids for any reason they can find. The list is long, but anything that makes someone different is fair game: height, weight, gender, age, religion, bad hair day, clothing, where you live, kind of car, curfew, athletic ability, parent’s jobs, their marital status, siblings, bad teeth, bad breath, glasses, braces, and any number of things regarding sexual matters, intelligence, learning disabilities, opinions, or following rules. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a safe place to go where everyone was treated fairly, honestly, equally, and respectfully? A place where everybody lived by the same rules? A place where mistakes could be made without fear of ridicule? Wouldn’t the world be a better place if people could just learn to get along with each other?! Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could do something about it? What would you do if you had that privilege … that responsibility … that obligation? What if you could change the world?!

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Key Ingredients to Great Summer Camp

Reprinted from the Spring 2017 Abilities Digest

Contributed by a camp staff alum

Tent among the treesCommunication and teamwork are the key ingredients to a great summer camp experience for Scouts with special needs.

It’s been 30 years since I last worked on summer camp staff, but some of the most vivid memories I have are working with the Scouts and leaders of Troop 191 from the Widener Memorial School in Philadelphia. This troop of amazing men with various disabilities; both young and old, joined us for our first week of camp each season and it was as meaningful an experience for the staff as it was for the campers.

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Special Needs Scouting Service Award


The Special Needs Scouting Service Award recognizes ongoing service to Scouts and Scouting with disabilities and special needs. This award differs from the Torch of Gold and the Woods Services Award in that those awards are made only to nominees. The Special Needs Scouting Service Award must be earned, and can be earned by both volunteers and
professional Scouters.Disabilities-device

The latest information has been posted to Awards Central at

The award requirements are given below. They were initially published in Abilities Digest v 3 #3 in the summer of 2016 (archived on Scout Shops may now order the knot award as item #625334. Metal devices to distinguish different service awards will be produced and stocked later.

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Cub Activities and Advancement

Cub Scouts singingReprinted from the Spring 2017 Abilities Digest

Today’s Cub Scouts have a whole range of opportunities. New rank advancements offer Cub Scouts different opportunities to excel. Cub Scouts also have numerous camping opportunities. In years past, a pack might go camping once a year, if at all. Today, Cub camping takes place all year long. There are often district or council events for Cub Scout and Webelos camping or advancement, as well as den and pack opportunities.

Cub Scouts with disabilities can pose a challenge in both advancement and camping. Members with physical disabilities face special camping challenges and may rely on special equipment like wheel chairs, braces, hearing aids, and so on. This also affects advancement when a Cub Scout’s disability interferes with the requirements for a badge or award. Parents and pack leaders can work together to overcome these obstacles.

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