LEADER IDEAS I
Judy Polak, sent me an article she has written on
Working With Scouts With disabilities (WWSWd). Thank You
Working With Scouts With disabilities.
Planning a disAbility Awareness Night in your pack
can be a rewarding experience for you and your boys. Incorporating
this into your program follows the Ethics in Action program and
reinforces the character-building goals that have always been part
of the Boy Scout program.
Because boys at Cub Scout age are often
faced with conflicting messages that sharply contradict the positive
values taught in their families, packs that incorporate programs
that teach awareness, tolerance, respect, understanding and kindness
can play an important role in combating the peer pressure boys
As you begin planning a disAbility Awareness Night,
consider these things:
- Check with your council offices to see if they have a professional assigned in this area. If they do, it could be an invaluable resource.
- Check with your District Advancement Chairman to obtain the names of the Disability Awareness Merit Badge Counselors. Many of them are professionals in the field and are more than willing to assist.
- Check to see if their is a Cub Pack or Boy Scout Troop in your area that has some of these special Scouts. Remember, for their rank advancement, disAbled Scouts must meet the same requirements as all others. Perhaps they are working on their Communications or Public Speaking Merit Badge and would take the opportunity to assist you.
- Your local hospital may have education programs and could provide instruction and explanation to the Scouts. They also have resources available.
- Your council rep, MB counselor, or hospital worker can also obtain copies of materials from some of the local organizations that you can distribute. If this is your first time, please be aware of the sensitivity of others. Some of your Cubs may be introduced to disAbility awareness for the first time. It is important to make them aware that Scouts are: Courteous, Helpful, Friendly and Kind...
Go to http://www.main.org/boyscout/mpwdisab.htm
and take a look at what Troop and Pack 49 have done to make their
Scouts aware. Perhaps you can obtain some similar literature for a
handout. You may also want to visit the Working With Scouts With
disABILITIES website at http://boyscouts-marin.org/wwswd/wwswd.htm .
This is a site run by volunteer Scouters who believe that every boy
deserves the opportunity of Scouting. The WWSWd site is undergoing
some enhancements and improvements, so be sure to check back often.
While much is made over the use of ³politically correct²
language in our society, teaching our Cubs that their words can hurt
is essential. These words are suggested to teach your Cubs words
that do not hurt those they are trying to learn to be empathetic
toward: enAbled, disAbility, disAbled...not handicapped, wheel chair
enAbled...not wheel chair bound. Equally important to language is
our attitude toward equipment: wheelchairs, crutches, braces,
walkers, etc., are the tools of the disAbled, not toys. Some
suggestions for Disability Awareness stations:
Add to your experience by sharing the story of Eagle
Scout Daniel Collins who has cerebral palsy and is anAbled with the
use of a 3-wheel, squeeze trigger wheelchair. Daniel is definitely a
role model for a lot of Scouts as he completed the same requirements
for rank advancement. To read the entire article, go to
Since its founding in 1910, the Boy Scouts of
America has had fully participating members with physical, mental,
and emotional disAbilities. The first Chief Scout Executive, James
F. West, had a disABILITY. Thanks to these scout leaders who
contributed suggestions through Scouts-L:
Cyndy Tschanz, Webelos Den Leader, Den Leader Coach,
pack 255, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, firstname.lastname@example.org
McConnell, District Advancement Chair, Northridge District, Detroit
Area Council, Detroit, Michigan email@example.com
Jerry Bowles, Bear Den Leader,
Trudy Freeman, Cubmaster Pack 205, Anchorage,