scouts-l Mail Archive for June of 2000: Physical Handicap Limitations ?
Fri Jun 02 2000 - 09:26:28 CDT
Del (and his co-leaders) should be proud about successfully re-forming a
Troop - and an inclusive one, as well. Scouting for youth or leaders
can be a daunting task and among the important lessons we learn is to do
our personal best, and that we cannot do it alone.
Individuals may succeed in climbing (their) Mt. Everest (and in 1998 one
did with an artificial leg), but they couldn't have succeeded without
the rest of the expedition's contributions - each doing their best.
Del, and his youth, wish to make their experiences fulfilling and not
feel deprived because of one youth's limitations (nor do they want to
exclude that youth) - while at the same time assuring that that youth
does not feel shut out of activities, and feels fulfilled. That's where
creativity comes in.
So, let me approach this answer step by meandering step.
First: Always ask the boy how he sees himself involved and contributing
to the activity, and his take on planning and problem solving.
Second: Always, always focus on a person's ABILITIES and strengths, not
(Thus far we seem to know that the boy has a heart of gold, is liked by
his peers, and doesn't want to be idle back in base camp. We also know
that he is ambulatory, albeit with limitations.)
a. Scout Handbook (fine print) a (car) trip can replace a hike, and the
boy can plan and navigate.
b. A hike (for all) can be by bike - check out the availability of
handcycles used by persons with lower extemity limitations. (Or a
tandem cycle for a person who is blind- the person doing the pumping is
the "stoker".) Either is acceptable for Cycling (a required) MB.
c. Don't to quickly dismiss the rickshaw idea - consider modifying [dual
purpose] a kayak or canoe cart (portaging means carting not just
shouldering the load) - check your Campmor catalog. My bet is that
early contact with the canoe outfitter (or Sommers, for example) can
define trips with minimal portages, and help develop ability groupings.
d. While I did not like the article "One of the Best", Scouting,
May-June 1999 because it didn't address any advancement opportunities,
the visuals show a boy (not infant) sized three-wheel cart. Check with
therapists, and other "experts" on the vast range of assistive devices.
e. There is a vast array of outdoor activities now available to persons
with disAbilities do to the development of adaptive sporting equipment
and/or techniques, and specialty camps: Snow Sports, Water Skiing,
Cycling, Horsemanship, Small Boat Sailing; Golfing; etc. (sounds like
merit badge country.)
f. I recently reviewd a video tape (Ch. 11, Green Bay, WI) of a man
who's on the U.S. DisAbled Cross-Country Team - he's paraplegic. The
tape was of his ascent of Mt. Ranier, WA. He worked for the Wisconson
Department of Natural Resources (so that's close to home, Del). His
name is Jeff Pagels - I bet he has some ideas. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Del (and others), you're doing the right thing. The trick is doing more
of it. There's support out "there", and people to brainstorm with you.
Keep asking questions. And, check out:
> Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 06:21:57 -0400
> From: Del Rockwell <drockwell@VOYAGER.NET>
> Subject: Physical Handicap Limitations ?
> We have a newly re-formed troop. We just made our one year
> anniversary. All of our scouts have come up with us through Cub
> with the exception of a couple we picked up right after starting the
> troop back up. So therefore all are young Boy Scouts, just getting
> their feel of higher stress treks. One of our scouts is physically
> handicapped. He has a difficult time walking longer distances and
> he is pretty shaky when just walking around. He has more than
> his share of falls. He has a heart of gold. The other kids really like
> him and like having him in Scouts. And herein comes our worry.
> We do not want his limitations to stop the other guys from doing
> the more strenuous outings that are now wanting to do, but want to
> keep him involved and not shut him out either.
> We are just now doing our first longer hike. On our campout this
> weekend, we will be doing 10 miles a day on Saturday and Sunday
> with a full pack. Up until now, we have done 5 at most. We have
> on the shorter ones allowed him to go a mile or so and then head
> back to camp with an adult and another scout or a couple of
> adults. He is not going to go with us this weekend at all. He did
> not want to stay at base camp for such an extended time period
> without the rest of the Scouts there with him. We plan to start
> running a few canoeing trips next year and again, the portages we
> might expect most of the Scouts to do would be extremely difficult
> if not dangerous for him to attempt.
> We've brainstormed and tried to come up with something that
> would help, but so far have been unsuccessful. (our idea of a two
> wheeled rickshaw just didn't really sound that good in practice).
> We have thought that as we bring in younger Scouts each year and
> the troop builds up, that the older boys will want to do more high
> adventure type activities. We can have him stay back at base
> camp with the younger Scouts and be a base camp leader.
> I suppose we have to accept this as something we just try to work
> around as best we can and know that he is going to have to stay in
> base camp during some of these outings. But felt I should give the
> list the chance to tell me if I have missed something or am going
> about this the wrong way.
> Thank for the help in advance.
> Del Rockwell
> CM Pack 345, SA Troop 345
> Bellevue United Methodist Church
> Nottawa Trails District
> Southwest Michigan Council