Special needs pack and troop
Jason A. Cruse (jcruse@NEMONET.COM)
Sun, 30 Nov 1997 08:07:28 -0600
Over half of my troop would be considered "special needs", based on the
information given in the post a couple of days ago on a pack and troop in
Boysville. I don't have anything to add to a pack, but let me add some
things that have been reinforced in working with these boys at the troop
1) The rules must be the rules. There must be a fine line between justice
and mercy. Let the boys make up their own rules, then let them judge
themselves. They will be harsher than an adult (generally, but not
always); let the adults mete out the mercy.
2) Be consistent. This is important with any troop, but with young men
who have had some legal challenges or who come from troubled family
circumstances, it is VITAL. They may already feel that part of being an
adult is being arbitrary. "Do as I say, not as I do" simply cannot exist.
3) Make sure the boys know that you *enjoy* being with them. There's
nothing wrong with them, nor any reason why they can't learn, advance, etc.
Help them set goals, in and out of scouts. Drill on the skills, and then
take them to camporees and such. Let them feel like they are "on par" with
other troops and other boys.
4) I encourage you to get involved with the boys. If they play
basketball, play ball. If you take them camping and they play capture the
flag, play the game. Get in with them. This will put yourself on their
level for a while. But, the rules HAVE to stay the same for you. The
first thing they will expect is that if you lose, you will change the rules
somehow to win. Don't. If you're playing their game, you have to play by
Have fun. Too many people write these kids off and don't consider that
just because they don't come from a perfect family, they still have brains
and can still have fun.
I had my highlight experience (to this point) with one of these youth last
Tuesday. I was doing SM conferences, and had one with my most troubled
youth. He has suffered through every kind of abuse, and has been involved
in legal troubles. He's 14. I told him that there's no reason why he
can't earn his Eagle, and stated that if he could accomplish that, nobody
would remember anything else about him, except that he turned himself
around and earned his Eagle. I told him about a job interview I had a
about a year ago where the interviewer saw on my resume that I am in Eagle.
He asked if that was true, and I said yes. Without hesitating, he told me
I was hired.
This got the young man's attention, who wanted to know how long it would
take. 2 - 3 years of hard work, I said. "I'll go home and read my book
about it," was his reply.
"There are no points for second place."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City