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Baloo's Bugle


February 2004 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 10, Issue 7
March 2004 Theme

Theme: Walk in My Shoes
Webelos: Engineer & Athlete
  Tiger Cub: Achievement #7





Things To Discuss With The Boys

Circle Ten Council

Tips On Ways To Help The Handicapped -

Offer help when it looks as though it might be needed but do not insist on it if the individual refuses aid.

Don't "hover". Handicapped people do not wish to be treated as babies. Children react the same way. They want to be like you and me.

When a handicapped person falls, take it easy. Wait for them to give you a cue. If he can get up by himself, he may prefer doing that. If he needs a lift he will tell you which is the easiest way to get him back on his feet.

Crutches and wheelchairs are necessary accessories. Don't take them away from the handicapped person unless he indicates he would like to have them out of the way. Nothing is more irritating than to have your crutches grabbed quickly as soon as you hit the chair, leaving you stranded.

Vehicles are difficult even for the young and agile. The handicapped often need help here, again, let them tell you how to help. Those who do not need to be carried up the steps usually have methods of their own for making them. Do not pull an arm or push from behind unless such assistance has been requested. Precarious balance can be lost entirely with such tactics.

Relax. No matter what you do, if you are friendly and kind, the handicapped person is going to like you.

Have fun. Talk about the same things you would with any other person. A physical handicap does not necessarily limit your interests or dampen your sense of humor.

Be yourself. Don't be sticky sweet. Omit the piety.

Let common sense and consideration be your guide, and you will never err seriously. The disabled are just like you are, only with a physical difference that does not have to make them feel or think differently.

When in doubt ask - "May I help you?" "How can I help?" 

Remember that it is a whole person that we are dealing with.

What You've Wanted To Know About

Helping Someone In A Wheelchair,

But Were Afraid to Ask!

Circle Ten Council



Provide a wheelchair and let the boys practice the correct way to handle a wheelchair by being the one who is physically challenged and non disabled. This will help to give them an understanding of what it is like to be wheelchair bound

In order to ensure the safety and the comfort of physically disabled people and non-physically disabled people when they are together, it is important to remember the following:

Find out the mechanics of the wheelchair.

Before you start pushing a person in a wheelchair, check for anything caught in the wheels - coats, blankets, scarves, hands, etc.

Check to see if the brake is off because a fast start with the brakes could jar the person right out of the wheelchair.

It is better to back down an incline or curb so the chair does not run away from you. To support it so it does not come down quickly, avoid pushing against the back of the chair because that is the person's back.

If you are going up one small step, tip the front wheels and move up. If there is more than one step go backwards.

If you must go up a flight of stairs with a person in a wheelchair, make sure you have adequate help; one person behind and two people on each side. Grab the chair where it is secure, where no parts will come off. For example, sometimes arms will pull off the chair in order to facilitate transferring.

To go through a swinging door: if the door swings in, push it open with your seat and pull the chair in backwards. If the door swings out, open the door hold and pull, push the wheelchair through.

Don't try and take the chair through loose sand, gravel, ice and snow. If it is necessary to go on rough ground, you may need to go slowly or quickly depending on conditions. Sometimes if you tip the chair on its rear wheels, it makes it easier.

When you are entering and exiting from an elevator, check to see that the elevator and floor are level - avoid bumps.

Be careful of elevator doors, some close very quickly.

You cannot usually turn a wheelchair in an elevator, so enter and exit the same way.

Wheelchair people don't like crowded elevators. They are smothered and claustrophobic. Wait for another.

While walking with a person in a wheelchair, be aware of the person and what he/she is interested in. If you are walking in a crowd, it is difficult to hear so keep in touch, lean over, make comments, and see if there is any place that the person would like to go.

Most people in wheelchairs don't like to go into the middle of a crowd. Skirt it. Remember the level you are at. It is full of noise, dust, dirt, kids, shopping bags, dogs, etc. This can be very claustrophobic, so be aware of the feeling.

If you want to talk to a person in a wheelchair, go somewhere where you can sit so that eye level is equal. Looking up is difficult and tiring. If it is impossible to sit down, stoop over, bend over or move a few steps away from the wheelchair, so that the back of the neck does not have to he held back for long periods of time.

Be aware of eye level for viewing. Just because you can see doesn't mean the person in a wheelchair can. Often bars, railings, block the vision. Bend down to their eye level and check out what they can see.

The person in a wheelchair has fears about whether the volunteer can handle the chair, so avoid dangerous positions; e.g. stairs, inclines and ramps. If you must stop at the top of the stairs, turn the chair sideways so that if the chair is bumped it won't go down, and put the brakes on.

If you are helping a person to stand up, give him a waiting time so their body can adjust to the new position. Don't let go until they say they are ready.

Check with the person on canes and crutches before you assist them. A too helpful arm can throw them off balance.

A person in a wheelchair is not an object sitting in a chair; it is a person. However, sometimes the person with a disability is the object of curiosity. Be aware of it. Don't panic yourself. Try to treat the situation as honestly as possible. Don't pretend the disability is not there.

When You Meet a Blind Person

Circle Ten Council

Treat a blind person as you would anyone else. He does the same things as you, but sometimes uses different techniques.

If you are not sure how much a blind person sees, ask. Not all blind people have total absence of sight. Most have some sight and make the best use of what vision remains.

Speak to a blind or visually impaired person in a normal tone of voice. Identify yourself and let him know you are addressing him by using his name or touching his arm. Be sure to indicate when you are leaving.

When walking with a visually impaired person, let him take your arm if he wishes. Pulling him by the hand is awkward and confusing.

Do not hesitate to use words like "see", "look", or "read". A blind person will use such words in his vocabulary as often as anyone else.

Describe your surroundings, whether it is the scenery from a moving car, an interesting incident on TV. or the layout of an unfamiliar room.

Give directions clearly and accurately. Pointing or using phrases such as "over there" will be of no assistance.

Never distract a dog guiding a blind person. The dog guide is responsible for the safety of its master and such interference could lead to unnecessary tragedy.

Avoid the impulse to rush to a blind person's aid. If you are not sure whether or not he needs your assistance, ask.

Remember, when you meet a blind person, common sense and courtesy can lead to an enjoyable friendship.

After going over these tips have a trust walk with have the boys blindfolded and the others leading based on what they have learned. Then have them switch places.


Sam Houston Area Council

A disabilities awareness day will help boys understand that some people have special needs different from their own. Through activities, the boys will be able to see some of the challenges people with special needs might face.


Set up a course along a string guideline with stations every 20 feet. Run the string guideline between posts, with the string 30 inches off the ground for the boys to hold on to as they go. (Make posts from PVC pipe set in No. 10 cans filled with plaster. Drill holes through the PVC pipe at 30 inches from the bottom of the can to run the string through the pipe). Remind the boys that they need to move slowly for safety reasons. Have adults at each station to direct the activities. Boys are blindfolded and move along the string from station to station.

       STATION #1: Boys must find a chair, sit on it, stand up, and then continue.

       STATION #2: Boys must pick up wads of paper on the ground and put them in a trashcan. Tell boys how many wads of paper there are so that they can try to find all of them.

       STATION #3: Boys peel an orange and eat it. Then they must place the peels in a trashcan.

       STATION #4: Boys pour a glass of water from a small pitcher and drink it.


Borrow or rent a manually operated wheelchair. Set up a course that includes a left and right turn, a bump to negotiate over, and a transfer point for boys to move from the wheelchair to a bench and back without using their legs. Tie boys' legs together for added realism.


Use heavy-duty headphones to cover the ears of each participant. Show each boy a written message that he must convey to another individual some distance away who also has his ears covered.


Each boy writes his name first right-handed and then left-handed. Have him put his dominant hand behind his back and make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with only one hand.



The manual Alphabet or Signing is a means of communication used by people who have a hearing impairment. See if you can read what the hands are saying in our message below.






In the Braille alphabet, a pattern of raised dots represents each letter of the alphabet. A person can "read" through his fingertips by feeling the raised letters. Here is an alphabet written in Braille. The colored dots represent the raised dots. If you poke a pinpoint through the back of each of the colored dots, you can "raise" the letters. Try feeling the pattern with your fingers. Now try to write your own coded message in the Braille alphabet.


Have the boys glue seeds or lentil beans onto index cards. Write the letter on the back for

Reference. Use the cards to make messages. Try it blindfolded.

Popsicle Stick Plaques

Sam Houston Area Council

Write the Cub Scout Promise, Law of the Pack, or Motto on a Popsicle stick plaque and hang it on the wall or stand it on your desk. You may want to glue alphabet macaroni instead of writing with markers. Write or draw some other messages too.

Star Frame

Sam Houston Area Council

Materials: Thirteen Popsicle, sticks; cardboard; paint; fine-pointed permanent markers; star shapes (wood or craft foam); clear plastic sheet (like report cover or sheet protector). Photo of your hero, string, and glue.


1.       Make a frame with 6 Popsicle sticks, two on each side, one on top and one on bottom.

2.       Cut cardboard to 2 1/2 x 3 1/2". Cover it with glue and lay the remaining 7 sticks side by side, touching each other. This is the backing.

3.       Paint the frame and backing (on the Popsicle stick side) any color you desire.

4.       If you are using wooden shapes, paint them.

5.       Draw design on the frame with markers. (First practice on paper and decide what you want to draw).

6.       Glue star shapes onto the frame.

7.       Put the photo of your hero behind the frame to see if it fits. If it's too big, trim the photo.

8.       Trace the photo on a clear plastic sheet. Cut the clear plastic. Tape it to the photo. This will protect the photo.

9.       Glue or tape the photo on the sides of the frame.

10.    Attach the backing.

11.    Tie string to the top horizontal Popsicle. Hang the frame.


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