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When to APPLY for alternate requirements

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  • When to APPLY for alternate requirements

    In another thread, as we say, a question was raised as to alternate requirements for rank advancement. I'm all for recognizing Scouts with disabilities, I was one. There has to be a line. What does First Class Scout mean? What does Eagle Scout mean? Alternate requirements IMO need to be used only when the scout could never complete a specific requirement as written. A scout in a wheel chair can't chop wood. A blind scout IMO can't become a 2nd Class Scout, almost all of the requirements would have to be altered. The alternate requirement option is under the control of the council advancement committee so my question isnt should A B or C be accepted as grounds for allowing the alternate requirement. Instead Id like to know at what point or for what types of disabilities YOU would ask for the exception.
    LongHaul

  • #2
    Id like to know at what point or for what types of disabilities YOU would ask for the exception.

    At what point? When all other options have been exhausted.

    What type? A valid disability, not a fear. Fear of the water isn't a disability.

    Ed Mori
    1 Peter 4:10

    Comment


    • #3
      We've had some fellows in our troop with various medical situtions that precluded them from some standard scouting activities and I've consulted with council regarding procedures. In short, up until Eagle, all advancement is approved at the unit level. Alternative requirements should be agreed to in advance in a consultation between the parents and the SM. Appropriate medical documentation should be available if requested by the SM. The same procedure is followed for merit badges between the parents and the counselor. Only where an entire Eagle required MB is impossible does the council becomes involved.

      I have approved alternative requirements for 1st Class swimming where the 11 y.o. scout was psychologically incapable of submerging his head, due to a recognized medical syndrome. In this case, I approved a set of alteratives which involved hiking. Ultimately, this scout was able to overcome his disability and earn the Swimming MB straight up. He is now working on his project.

      Comment


      • #4
        In the Troop I serve we follow the information found in BSA publication #33065, Scouting for Youh with Learing Disabilites. The guideline cited also pertain to physical handicaps as well. I post this because future readers may benefit from seeing the BSA position:
        Many Scouts with disabilities may have difficulty completing the requirements to advance in Scouting However, it is important that these Scouts be treated as much like others as possible, therefore completing the requirements as stated in official Scouting literature should be a primary objective. It may take these Scouts a little longer than others, so using the intermediate recognition system with the leather thong and beads can be a real motivator. If a Scout's disability hinders him in completing a particular requirement or merit badge, he may apply for alternate requirements for Tenderfoot through First Class ranks, or for an alternate merit badge.
        Alternate Requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class Ranks
        A Scout who is unable to complete any or all of the requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, or First Class. rank because of a physical or mental disability may complete alternative requirements if the following criteria are met:
        1. The physical or mental disability must be of a permanent rather than a temporary nature. (Emphasis added)
        2. A clear and concise medical statement concerning the Scout's disabilities must be submitted by a licensed health-care provider or an evaluation statement must be certified by an educational administrator. The medical statement must state the health-care provider's opinion that the Scout cannot complete the requirement(s) because of a permanent disability. (Emphasis added)
        3. The Scout, his parents, or his leaders must submit to the council advancement committee a request that the Scout be allowed to complete alternate requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, or First Class rank. The request must explain the suggested alternative requirements in detail sufficient to allow the advancement committee to make a decision. The request must also include the medical statement required in item 2, above.
        4. Before applying for alternate requirements, the Scout must complete as many of the standard Requirements as his ability permits.
        5. The request for alternate requirements must be submitted to, and approved by, the local council prior to completing alternate requirements.
        6. The alternate requirements must demand as much effort as the standard requirements.
        7. When alternate requirements chosen involve physical activity, they must be approved by the licensed health-care provider.
        8. The unit leader and any board of review must explain that to attain Tenderfoot, Second Class, or First Class rank, a candidate is expected to do his best in developing himself to the limit of his resources.
        9. The request must be approved by the council committee responsible for advancement, utilizing the expertise of professional persons involved in Scouting for people with disabilities. The decision of the council committee should be recorded and delivered to the Scout and his leader.
        Alternate Merit Badges for the Eagle Scout Rank
        1. By qualifying for alternate merit badges, a Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or qualified Venturer who has a physical or mental disability may achieve Eagle Scout rank. (In order for a Venturer to be an Eagle Scout candidate, he must have achieved First Class rank as a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout.) This does not apply to individual requirements for merit badges. Merit badges are awarded only when all requirements are met as stated.
        2. The physical or mental disability must be of a permanent, rather than a temporary, nature. (Emphasis added)
        3. A clear and concise medical statement concerning the Scout's disabilities must be made by a licensed health-care provider, or an evaluation statement must be certified by an education administrator. (Emphasis added)
        4. Before applying for an alternate Eagle Scout rank merit badge, the candidate must earn as many of the required merit badges as his ability permits.
        5. The candidate must complete as many of the requirements of the required merit badges as his ability permits.
        6. The Application for Alternate Eagle Scout Rank Merit Badges must be completed prior to qualifying for alternate merit badges. ([his application, No. 58-730,can be obtained from your local council.)
        7. The alternate merit badges chosen must demand as much effort as the required merit badges.
        8. When alternates chosen involve physical activity, the activities must be approved by the Scout's licensed health-care provider.
        9. The unit leader and the board of review must explain that to attain the Eagle Scout rank, a candidate is expected to do his best in developing himself to the limit of his resources. .
        10. The application must be approved by the council committee responsible for advancement, utilizing the expertise of professional persons involved in Scouting for people with disabilities.
        11. The candidate's application for Eagle Scout rank must be made on the Eagle Scout Rank Applicant on, with the Application for Alternate Eagle Scout rank Merit Badges attached



        The point of all of the above is that when you change requirements for Ranks, its done because of a permanent disability verified by a health care practitioner (physician, Physician assistant, Nurse Practioner, etc) or certified by an Educational administrator and permission granted by the Council Advancement Committee

        Not sure how this is enforced however(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

        Comment


        • #5
          I thank OGE for taking the time to write out the official text. The question is how do we interpret that text? Trevorum states that he used an alternate requirement to allow a scout to advance and the scout later over came the disability. Does this mean the disability was not indeed permanent? I am NOT trying to critique Trevorums decision, he was there non of us were. My point is should the scout have been required to wait, ultimately he would have over come his "handicap" and would have been able to pass the requirement "straight up", as Trevorum put it. Possibly Trevorum's decision was the impetus which allowed this scout to overcome his disability. Personally I've never been asked in the capacity of SM to consider alternative requirements so I can't say what I did. I have been involved with other troops that have used alternative requirements and they are what prompted this thread. I agreed with some but strongly disapproved of others.
          LongHaul

          Comment


          • #6
            I think the approach has to be one on one, each case separately. One could say that Trevorum was wrong as he did not seek Council permission and didnt have a certification of disability by an appropriately credentialed person. Then again what he does have is a scout working on his project, which I take to be the Eagle project. If Trevorum's troop would have held up the scouts advancement until he could pass the swim test, would that have led to the scout leaving scouting? No one knows, we know that the scout has advanced to Life and is working on Eagle so that has to be counted as a success, that the scout stayed in scouting. I think he did good.

            Comment


            • #7
              LongHaul,
              That's an excellent observation and I have to admit I have not thought of it before. In this case, the Scout has (note use of present case) Asperger's Syndrome. Along with a number of behavioral and socialization issues, this Scout was terrified of water. The first year at summer camp he suited up but would only sit on the side of the pool. The second year we felt he was making tremendous progress because he would actually stand in the shallow end. His parents recognized the immeasurable benefits that Scouting was providing for their son and were reluctant to request any special considerations for him. Eventually however, it became clear that he would not progress past 2nd Class without making some adjustment to the swimming requirement. I met with the parents and we developed the alternative hiking requirements. At the time, there was no idea that he would ever be able to swim at all. But, as you suggest, he felt badly enough about sidestepping (as he put it) the swimming requirement that he eventually was able to learn to swim. Not very well, but enough to satisfy the MB counselor. (He elected not to try his hand at the Lifesaving MB, though.) This fellow has since completed the high ropes elements of our COPE course, has trekked Philmont, and is currently working on his Eagle project. For a kid who was uncoordinated, introverted, and socially marginalized at age 10, he has come a lonnnng way!. We're pretty proud of him.

              Comment


              • #8
                You should be proud of yourself as well. You evaluated a situation and made a judgment call based on what you felt was in the boy's best interest. If, as you say, the boy felt bad about "side stepping" a requirement and that motivated him to address his fears then you have succeeded on two levels. This boy is and will always be better equipped to face the day, if only in his own mind, because of your involvement.
                LongHaul

                Comment


                • #9
                  OGE, I should mention that in our council our advancement person (who is involved with disabled people professionally) has requested that we NOT involve council regarding proposed alternative requirements for T-2-1. Thus, the council committe has delegated items #3 and #5 to the unit. The other items stand.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    OGE & Trevorum,
                    I have a scout that Is Bipolar with ADHD Tendencies, High Functioning Autistic Spectrum Disorder. He probably can handle the MB's but his Learning Disabilities from the above will cause a significant delay in completing the requirements, probably not by his 18th birthday.
                    We're in the process of having his Psychiatrist and school Psychologist put together letters to Council requesting not alternative requirements, but an extension beyond his 18th birthday to complete the normal requirements.
                    Does BSA offer time extentions because of LD's causing delays?
                    Are we handling this the right way?
                    How would you guys proceed?
                    Any input would be appreciated.
                    Thanks.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      ASM915
                      I do know for a fact that the Eagle cut off can be extended at least to the age 21. It was done in a troop I was associated with. The question is when to apply for that extension. How old is your scout, how much time does he have to apply and del with the extension application?
                      LongHaul

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        ASM915
                        I do know for a fact that the Eagle cut off can be extended at least to the age 21. It was done in a troop I was associated with. The question is when to apply for that extension. How old is your scout, how much time does he have to apply and deal with the extension application?
                        LongHaul

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Sorry it took me a little while to find this thread - somehow I tend to overlook the areas that are not part of the "regular" categories of this forum. This is exactly what I am wondering about though. In the axe yard thread I asked about a scenario where a scout with significant behavioral/emotional disabilities should or shouldn't be barred from using sharp objects like axes.

                          When dealing with behavioral issues, how do we decide whether a condition is likely to be permanent? It could be years before we know or concede that and even then, things might change with the advent of new medications. This seems like it would be easier to figure out with regard to physical conditions. In the meantime, this scout will be unable to advance past tenderfoot. Do we wait until the scout (or his mom, in this case) is so frustrated with the program that they demand we "do something?" I would prefer to see the troop be a little more pro-active, but that then requires an acknowledgment (by mom first) that this is likely a permanent disability. And I also don't know that the troop ought to be in a position of telling parents and boys to seek that diagnosis. So I guess I'm wondering how to find the balancing point here.

                          What sort of alternative requirements would make sense anyway? I can see substituting hiking or cycling for a scout who is unable to swim for whatever reason - all physical activities and we do make those three MBs optional (pick one) for Eagle. I'm not sure what a logical substitution for knife/axe/saw handling would be. Lashing? Cooking? Some other camp skill?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            ASM915, this is what BSA publication #33065, Scouting for Youh with Learing Disabilites says about your issue:

                            Membership Requirements for Those Beyond
                            the Normal Registration Age

                            The chartered organizations using Scouting determine, with approval of appropriate medical authorities, whether a youth member is qualified to register (based on the above definitions) beyond the normal registration age. The Cubmaster's signature on the Application to
                            Join a Pack, the Scoutmaster's signature on the Boy Scout Application,the Varsity Scout Coach's signature on the Varsity Scout Application,and the Advisor's or Skipper's signature on the Venturer Application, or the leader's signature on the unit's charter renewal application certify the approval of the chartered organization for the youth to register. The local council must approve these registrations on an individual basis. The medical condition of all candidates for membership
                            beyond the normal registration age must be certified by a licensed health-care provider, or an
                            evaluation statement must be certified by an educational administrator. Use the Personal Health and Medical Record form, No. 34412.Any corrective measures, restrictions, limitations, or abnormalities must be noted. In the case of candidates with mental retardation or emotional disturbance, their condition must be certified with a statement signed by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist. Current health, medical, or certification records of all youth members with disabilities who are beyond the normal registration age are to be retained in the unit file at the
                            council service center.

                            It is an action taken taken by the CO, verified by a health care practioner/educational administrator with the Council's permission. There are a lot of people involved in the process, but it can be done. The District I serve has one such scout.


                            Lisabob, you asked

                            "When dealing with behavioral issues, how do we decide whether a condition is likely to be permanent?" the quick answer is, the BSA doesnt want you to decide, it wants a Health Care Practitioner/Educational Administrator to decide. Then the alternative requirements are not thought up by the unit, the unit may have suggestions, but the suggestions have to be approved by Council. This is to take pressure off the unit for being too "easy" or "hard", you get the qualified expert's opinion and approcal of the organization and follow it. Favoritism claims cannot then be made

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Lisabob,
                              Are there any references to said problems on the boys scouting physical. If so, have a meeting with the parents, since they filled out the form to begin with and therefore technically opened it up for discussion, about the troop wanting to seek alternative requirements through Council.
                              A good one might be LNT. It is nice to know axyard skills. But is this something that is really needed on every campout. LNT talks about firebuilding, what size wood to gather and use, all without have to chop up or cut anything, making carrying axes and hatchets passe. If the wood you gather is the size of your wrist or smaller and can easily be broken with hands, walla no ax. Maybe do axyard for Totem Chip only and only on one or two campouts a year. If we're out on an extended backpack trip, do you want the extra weight in the pack if there is a way around it? I think we are going to be seeing more LNT skills and philosophy in the requirements with the 2010 publishing of the scouting handbook.
                              Offer this up to Council as an alternative.

                              LongHaul he will be 17 at the end of April. I'm tring to get everything in order and to Council before then.

                              OGE, thanks for your time and thoughts.(This message has been edited by ASM915)

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