Re: Physically/Sexually Abused Scouts
Paul H. Brown (phbrown@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Mon, 21 Apr 1997 10:15:28 -0400
> I understand Linda's concerns for "everybody else" in the unit. Is this
> really Linda's problem only, or do we all have it and not recognize it?
Linda's problem is specific to some boys who've been abused. Her
previous experience is with boys who've been abused and are acting out to
such an extent that they destroy the program for the other boys. The
assumption is that these boys will also act out and destroy the program
(parents and "normal" scouts will vote with their feet and find another
I think we need to generalize the question a bit: what do we do with a
scout who is so disruptive that he is keeping the other scouts from
enjoying the benefits of the scout program? The physical or sexual abuse
is one reason for a scout to be disruptive. Perhaps some of us have
experienced others. :-(
In most troops I've observed, there is a range of social skills
exhibited by the scouts: some scouts can sit quietly, remain focused on
task, do what they're asked, etc. Other scouts are constantly in motion,
may exhibit oppositional-defiant personality disorders, may do all sorts
of strange things to tax the patience of the scouters and other scouts.
Most scouts fall somewhere in the middle.
I suppose its a matter of how big a reservior of goodwill a troop's
scouts and scouters have. If the troop has an established way of doing
things and trained leadership (both adult and youth), then a "special
needs" scout or two won't stress the system more than it can handle. The
other scouts can learn that everyone in the world isn't "normal" (they
already have school experiences that let them know this, anyway), and
they need to learn how to work with those who are differently-abled.
A troop that is struggling to get organized, that has untrained or
unskilled leaders, may find that it is overstressed by adding special
needs scouts to the group. The troop may fold because it lacks the
resources to overcome this challenge.
I suppose if its just a struggle, then go for it. "That which doesn't
kill me makes me stronger." If its a
struggle that will result in the failure of the troop, then don't. A
dead troop helps nobody.
Paul H. Brown, KD4UPD
I used to be an Antelope, WB 82-66
Pack Committee Chairman, Unit Commissioner, Roundtable Commissioner
George Washington District, National Capital Area Council, BSA
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City