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Baloo's Bugle


January 2005 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 11, Issue 6
February 2005 Theme

Theme: It's A Scouting Celebration
Webelos: Engineer & Scholar
  Tiger Cub:
Requirement 4 & Activities




Adaptations for Individuals With Disabilities

The following is from Pack 215's Virtual Cub Leader Book -


Flexibility and individuality are key words to remember when adapting Cub Scout Academics and Sports for boys with disabilities. For instance, a fast-moving sport may be difficult for some Cub Scouts with disabilities to participate in. The pace may be too quick, and they may not have enough time to make decisions. Scouting for Youth with Learning Disabilities (No. 33065), Scouting for Youth with Emotional Disabilities (No. 32998A), and Understanding Cub Scouts with Disabilities (No. 33839) are important resources for packs and dens using the Cub Scouts Academics and Sports program. Here are some general ideas for adapting the program for boys with disabilities.

Adapt the activity, or use mentors, to help a Cub Scout to participate. The boy should be involved to the best of his ability and so that he feels good about his participation.

Involve the boy in a needed, unique role that enhances the activity. For instance, he may be the team manager, the timekeeper, or the person responsible for equipment

Determine alternatives. For instance, miniature golf could be used instead of a full golf course; wheelchair races could be used instead of cycling.

Incorporate special helps into the activity. For instance, during bowling, use ramps with wheelchairs and guide rails for visually impaired youth. During basketball, youth can use a scooter board. During swimming, let youth use artificial aids to help them move across the pool.

Shorten time limits as needed for the mental or physical ability of the Cub Scout.

Include family members when planning a boy's participation in your activity. A knowledgeable parent or guardian is the best resource to help you adapt an Academics or Sports activity.

Pack leaders, with the boy's parent or guardian, may determine different requirements in a specific academic subject or sport to better suit the Cub Scout's ability.

Here are some other helpful hints:

Soccer, basketball, and volleyball are easy to adapt for wheelchair-bound youth.

Computers can often be adapted to deal with specific disabilities.

If baseball is too fast use tee ball or softball.

In basketball games, adaptations could be minor changes in the rules; for example, don't use the three-second rule, let players cross the centerline, and permit double dribbling.

Most youth with disabilities participate in physical fitness activities, and special-Olympics games are held in the summer and winter. Common sports for youth with disabilities include fishing, horseshoes, gymnastics, aerobics, hiking, and walking.

Cycling may be possible, but pay attention to potential added dangers on the road to some youth with disabilities.

Sports rating the highest in acceptability for youth with mental disabilities are swimming, softball, soccer, basketball, and physical fitness.

Serving Youth With Disabilities And Special Needs

From - http://www.bsa-heartofohio.org/CurrentEvents/serving_youth_with_disabilities_.htm

Since its founding in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has had fully participating members with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities.  Dr. James E. West, the first Chief Scout Executive, was himself disabled.  Although most of the BSA's efforts have been directed at keeping such boys in the mainstream of Scouting, it has also recognized the special needs of those with severe disabilities.

The following BSA resources can be used to increase the awareness of Scouters working with people with disabilities:

A Scoutmaster's Guide to Working With Scouts With Disabilities, No. 33056A

Scouting for Youth with Physical Disabilities, No. 33057C

Scouting for Youth with Mental Retardation, No. 33059B

Scouting for the Hearing Impaired, No. 33061A

Scouting for Youth with Learning Disabilities, No. 33065A

Scouting for the Blind and Visually Impaired, No. 33063B

Scouting for Youth with Emotional Disabilities, No. 32998B

The following resources are BSA publications regarding membership and advancement for disabled Scouts:

Advancement Committee Policies & Procedures, No. 33088C

Boy Scout Requirements, No. 33215D

Boy Scout Handbook, No. 33105

Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge Pamphlet, No. 33370

Application for Alternate Eagle Scout Rank Merit Badges, No. 58-730

Cub Scout Leader Book, No. 33221B

Any of the above resources are available through your local Scout Retail Shop.

Audio Recordings of Cub Scout Leader, Wolf, Bear, and Webelos Books are available through the free library service provided by the National Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress.  Families should also ask their cooperating libraries.  For more information, including eligibility requirements and the nearest cooperating library, call 1-800-424-9100 or contact the Internet  http://lcweb.locgov/vis  or http://www.loc.gov/nis .

Braille printings of Bobcat, Wolf Cub Scout Book, and Bear Cub Scout Book are available from The Lighthouse of Houston, Houston, TX.  713/527-9561

Braille printings of Bear Cub Scout Book, Webelos Scout Book and Parent's Guide.  National Braille Association, Rochester, NY, 716/427-8260

Boy's Life Magazine in Braille.  Library of Congress for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Washington, DC, 202/707-5104 (There is a leader in my district who receives this every month.  She has been to my Roundtables and Pack Meetings to show it and talk about blindness  CD)

Recordings of the Boy Scout Handbook  and various merit badge pamphlets.  Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic, Princeton, NJ, 800/221-4792

Boy Scout Handbook in Braille.  the Lighthouse of Houston, Houston, TX 713/527-9561

BSA merit badge pamphlets.  National Braille Association, Rochester, NY.  716/427-8260

Other available resources -

There is a fact sheet on National's web site


Jersey Shore Council has a pdf with available references and other info -


The St. Louis Area Council has a great page with lots of practical examples -


This site has games for disabled boys -


Special Thanks to Warren in Bloomington, IN whose question prompted my research on this topic.  CD


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