Scouting With Disabilities & Special Needs
“Scouting helps by giving Scouts with disabilities an opportunity to prove to themselves to others that they can do things — and difficult things too — for themselves”
– Lord Baden-Powell, Founder of Worldwide Scouting Movement
The Long Beach Area Council Scouting with Disabilities Committee (SWD) is committed to making Scouting accessible and enjoyable to members regardless of their abilities. Since the founding in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has included full participating members with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities.
The BSA’s policy is to treat members with disabilities as much like other members as possible. By adapting the environment and/or our instruction methods, most Scouts with disabilities can be successful in Scouting.
The basic premise of Scouting for youth with disabilities is full participation. Youth with disabilities can be treated and respected like every other member of their unit. They want to participate like other youth, and Scouting provides that opportunity. It has been traditional however, to make some accommodations in advancement if and where necessary.
What is Disability?
An individual is considered to have a “disability” if she or he:
1. has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limited one or more major life activities – seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, learning, caring for oneself, and working.
2. has a record of such an impairment, or
3. is regarded as having such an impairment.
The SWD Committee will be adding disabilities awareness to most training activities in the coming months.
Let us Help You
There are many resources available to parents and leaders of Scouts with disabilities and special needs. Please contact the SWD Committee so that we may assist with:
– Registering a special needs child in Scouting
– Developing an Individual Scouting Plan for a special needs Scout
– Conducting “Scouting with Disabilities and Special Needs” training for your group
– Identifying camping opportunities for special needs Scouts
– Assistance with the Disabilities Awareness merit badge
– Adapting rank or other requirements to accommodate a special needs Scout
– Filing Application for Alternate Eagle Scout Rank Merit Badges form with the Scout Service Center
– Finding or starting a special needs Scout unit
– General support for facilities and units with special needs Scouts