Be sure your council presents the annual Torch of Gold Award

BSA Torch of Gold logoThe Torch of Gold is a council award given annually to an adult Scouter for dedicated work for youth, particularly Scouts, with disabilities. It is not an award that is earned by simply fulfilling specific requirements. It is given in recognition for service in multiple areas for many years. The nominee should show a level of dedication and service comparable to a Scouter receiving the Silver Beaver Award, but for service specifically in the area of working with Scouts with disabilities.

A Scouter must be recommended to his or her council by another individual. Although there are specific criteria for this award, each council should have its own selection procedure. The nomination form can be found at scouting.org/filestore/pdf/512-495.pdf

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Woods Services Nominations: 10 Days Left!

Woods Services logo

The Woods Services Award is given to one Scouter per year nationally for exceptional service and leadership. The nominee should have served Scouts with disabilities in several capacities at the unit, district, council, or national levels of the Boy Scouts of America. The nominee for this prestigious award must have served Scouts with disabilities for at least three years strictly as a volunteer. This is a BSA award sponsored by the Woods Services Foundation in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, in memory of Luther W. Lord. The recipient receives a plaque from the Woods Foundation and may wear the BSA community service square knot. 

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Abilities Digest: Late Fall Edition

Abilities Digest logo

Here is Volume 5, Number 4 of Abilities Digest. Highlights include:

  • Adapting Activities: DisAbility adaptations for the COPE Challenge and course experience at the Philmont Training Center. 
  • Adapting Advancement: Perspectives on advancement as a method, not a mission, and on achievable challenges. 
  • Recognizing Abilities: Every council may present a Torch of Gold Award annually; Nominations for the 2019 Woods Services Award are due December 31; Earning the Special Needs Scouting Service Award. 

January Escape: Seabase Training

sunset at Seabase with Scouting U logoThe Seabase conference has been canceled for January 2019.

Come and join us in the beautiful Florida Keys to learn how to work with Scouts with disabilities. We are offering the volunteer training conference Diverseability and DisAbilitiy – How to Apply Proper Methods in Scouting with Special Needs

When: January 13-19, 2019

Where: Florida Seabase

It’s a great place to be in January!

This conference is for Scouters, professionals, and parents that have a passion for helping Scouts with disAbilities become involved in all that Scouting has to offer.

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Advancement Committees Need Special Needs Representation

Eagle projectReprinted from the July-August 2018 edition of Advancement News.

The Guide to Advancement addresses council advancement committee responsibilities in Section 3.0.0.1, 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.

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NDAS Resource Lists

National Disabilities Awareness Subcommittee, BSA, logoThe 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/.

Should Adults with Bipolar Disorder be Leaders?

Human brainBipolar 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.

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