Explorers with Disabilities ? ? ?
Jay Thal (jay.thal@TCS.WAP.ORG)
Sun, 8 Feb 1998 22:28:28 EST
EXPLORERS WITH DISABILITIES PROGRAM HELPS NO. 33674
Over two decades ago United States Federal law mandated that children with
disabilities be afforded an education in the least restrictive environment.
This did two things: it required that school districts provide access to full
educational opportunities rather than excluding them from education because
modification of curricula or facilities was inconvenient or costly; and, that
to benefit the children, and to the degree possible, students with disabilities
be included in regular educational settings rather than isolated from their
peers. This later concept is called mainstreaming.
U.S. Scouting has, and continues to have, units which are school or
institutionally based which bring Scouting to groups of youth isolated because
of their disabling conditions. But, Scouting encourages units to embrace all
within mainstream units.
All youth are unique. Each bring different strengths and gifts to the unit.
Each learn from one another, irrespective of their own strengths or gifts.
Scouting should be a microcosm of that idealized society we strive for as part
of our developmental goals.
This is one of a series of brief reviews of U.S. Scouting publications which
provide support, guidance, and direction to units and leaders in the belief
that Scouting and Scouts gain from inclusion. My intention is to share this
information so that Scouters will be encouraged to expand their recruitment
efforts. It will be republished from time to time, or sent upon request.
This is also intended to encourage Scouters to secure the original and complete
publications from BSA, for their own use. The antecedents for many of these
publications date to the mid-1970s. Perhaps BSA will, sometime, publish a list
of them in its annual catalog, as well. Policies or initiatives of other
Nations would be welcome and shared.
Among the publications are:
A Scoutmaster s Guide to Working with Scouts with Disabilities;
Scouting for Youth with Emotional Disabilities; Mental Retardation;
Physical Disabilities; Hearing Impairments; Blind and Visually Impaired;
Learning Disabilities; Exploring;....
This Preamble will be included with each review.
EXPLORERS WITH DISABILITIES PROGRAM HELPS No. 33674
1996, ISBN 0-8395-3674-7, 24 pages
Pictorially, and by a ratio of 18 to 16, male type people outnumber female type
people in this publication. One can tell by length of hair and whether they
It is a mischaracterization, of course! So is the statement: *Exploring is the
Boy Scouts of America program for men and women ages 14 through 20.*, or later
speaks to *...involvement...in all activities.* Oops! Perhaps that is why
there are no words to address advancement, and membership is, at best,
ambiguously addressed because young females can neither become members of a
Post nor advance through any ranks nor receive awards.
Neither is there anywhere quoted Article XI, Section 3, Clause 19 (below),
because it inelegantly speaks to the *...registration of young
adults...participation...in the respective advancement programs....*
Article XI, Section 3, Clause 19 of the BSA Rules and regulations reads, in
part: *...under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed upon
consultation with appropriate medical authorities, registration of boys who are
either mentally retarded or severely physically handicapped...as Cub
Scouts...over age 18 as Boy Scouts, or Varsity Scouts, and registration of
young adults...over age 21 as Explorers, and the participation of each in the
respective advancement programs while registered, is authorized.*
Exploring is described as a social activity (I will not touch that one with a
ten-foot pole) for young men and women designed to build character,
citizenship, and fitness. Exploring is a program in which like minded youth
can match their interests be that community service, recreation, or career
orientation. For those Post members (?) who are not disabled (and that is the
focus), it describes how they can do things for the disabled: build, teach,
train, decorate, instruct, etc. And, for those members, there are two pages
designed to raise sensitivity and increase disability awareness through
So when do we get to Explorers with disabilities? Well, there is very little
about actually having a person with a disability actively involved in the Post.
The term *Noblesse Oblige* comes to mind, as does Marie Antoinette*s famous
Do not spend your $5.00 on this one. I hope my summary is unambiguous.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City