scouts-l Mail Archive for June of 2000: Re: handicapped Scout
Jason Cruse (jcruse@SOCKET.NET
Sat Jun 03 2000 - 11:47:12 CDT
> 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.
ALL of the boys in your troop are doing this? I have a hard time seeing,
for example, an 11 year old who just crossed over as being able to complete
I am proud to say that I grew up in a troop with a young man who was
handicapped and have served as a scoutmaster for a young man with CP who
earned his Eagle. With them, I learned a few things.
First, there will be some things that these young people can't do. This
does not automatically mean, however, that they should be in a special needs
troop. Indeed, they can flourish in a "regular" troop. The young man
recently with CP completed a fulfilling week at the seabase with us last
summer, for example.
Every month, we offered two or three different programs. We found that, for
example, not everyone wanted to hike or backpack or could attend the
warm-ups, and so forth. Campouts also had multiple activities. In my two
instances, these young men were able to choose alternate activities without
"loosing face." Indeed, they did serve with distinction as troop guides, as
Auntie Beans appropriately suggested this morning. There is nothing that is
more music to the ears of a scoutmaster than hearing an 11 year old scout
proclaim that a handicapped young man is "cool" because he did stuff with
the younger boys. The older boys knew why he did, and never said a word.
The younger boys just thought that he was a great guide...which, in many
ways, he was.
I am a major proponent of integrating handicapped youth into daily life; in
my personal life I work not infrequently with the handicapped. In many
instances, they can perform everything as well if not better than "normal"
scouts. However, it does require planning, patience and thinking ahead. An
alternative activity to the 10 mile backpack might be in order. Or, what if
that young man was waiting at the end of the hike, and had a great meal
prepared for the hikers? He could in that way, for example, be working on
his cooking badge, be of some small service to his scouts and still be there
at the end and participate in the stories that always arrive larger than
they actually occured?
Just a few thoughts....