GEN: Blind Beaver Scout (UK) : Leaders need advice on integration
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAP.GWU.EDU)
Sun, 13 Nov 1994 15:59:35 -0500
Aside from the obvious thing of having a long talk with the lad's mum, it
might be worthwhile to ask his mom's permission for the leader to chat
with whoever, he has been learning how to handle his life challenge; e.g.
therapist, medical professional, etc.
One thing that might be useful is to run some of the Beavers through some
learning exercises disguised as games that we do with Cubs here in a program
called Ethics in Action. Two of the exercises (for small groups) involve
blindness. One is called Lost in Space. All of the Scouts are
blindfolded except one, who is the space station. The goal of the other
Scouts is to find the space station. After they are blindfolded, ask each
to turn around three or four times. Move the space station. Tell them
the cannont make any sound except when they bump into someone or
something. Then they can say beep beep. If it is another Scout, he
responds by saying beep beep. If the person is the space station, he
takes the hand of the beeping scout silently. Then the Scout is allowed
to remove his blindfold and become part of the space station, helping
others in with a silent hand when in reach. Game continues until all make
it to space station or are too tired to have any more fun. Requires large
unobstructed area for safety. Afterwards you have a discussion while they
are still laughing about it.
Start with feeling questions; e.g. Did you feel a little worried or afraid
when you weren't able to see? How did you figure out where the Space
Station was (single unanswered beep beep). Then move on to guiding
questions; e.g. Many of you were tempted to peek (probably did), could a
blind person peek? How does a person who cannot see well know where to go?
Now move on to open ended questions like; How could we be of help to
people who cannot see when they are in a new place, or when things have
been moved around? If you meet a person with a white cane or guide dog,
who seems to need help, what can you do? Are there times when a person
who can see might feel like you did when you first played this game? Use
reflective questions as appropriate, rephrasing and reinforcing all
positive contributions and don't critisize any answer. They'll catch the
Another exercise is to have each take a piece of paper and place it on his
head. Ask them to draw a picture of themselves on the paper without
looking. Its awkward and embarrassing! Similar questions are asked.
Again the pattern is to ask questions that first deal with feelings, then
guide discussion, followed by observation and then reflection. The key is
to ask open ended questions.
By playing these simple games, the boys themselves can decide a lot about
how it feels to be blind and what they can do to help someone who is
blind. It will also open their minds to be receptive later when their
leader tries to give them some cues about dealing with a blind friend!
Hope this is of help Ian.
Speaking only for myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F Bowman
Used to be a Beaver, National Capital Area Council, B.S.A.
mfbowman@CAP.GWU.EDU (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG after 12/13/94)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City