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Posts posted by SpecialScouting

  1. We had a great time :)


    I kept reminding them to think about what they liked and didn't like about what we (the adults) chose to have for them to do because they are in charge of next month's campout. That lead to a huge debate among the boys on the merits of peanut butter and jelly vs. grilled cheese :)


    Our 3 boys that wanted to earn "stuff" (activity badges and rank advancements) were able to get a lot done. But my favorite part is one Webelo, who prior to this really struggled with friendships and any physical activity. He actually told his mom "Hurry up, I need to see my boy scout friends." AND he helped build the fire, carved Ivory soap, played kickball and even (to his mother's great shock) tried to do our night hike. He only made it about 200m before he decided he had to leave but that is 200m more than he has even done!! He is insisting that next month he is going to sleep in a tent for the first time ever!!


    I love my scouts :)(This message has been edited by SpecialScouting)

  2. This is a mix of Webelos and young scouts (all with moderate disabilities) so developmentally they are younger. We aren't specifically trying to complete any activity badges or T-2-1 requirements but I will record what they do get done. We have 1 Web and 1 scout who love the feeling of accomplishment from learning all the skills so they are pretty far along their trails but most of the boys are happy just to be there and need multiple exposures to the skills before they will be able to start to get them. (Knot tying for a kid with fine motor issues and 'identifing' for a blind child are unique challenges.)


    As far as 16 hours of sleep, most of the boys must sleep at least 8 hours (either their meds are sedating or the nature of their disability causes them to need more sleep).


    Thanks for the games suggestion! They will like that much better :)


    We are doing a few different things wrt to food. Friday is tinfoil packets for dinner (where the boys put meat, potatoes, veggies in, seal it up and put it in the fire) and smores for a treat. Sat is cold bfast (the boys picked cereal) and walking tacos using a camp stove to heat up the prepared meat. Dinner is hotdogs on sticks and dessert is a dutch oven cobbler. The boys are doing all the cooking (with help as needed).(This message has been edited by SpecialScouting)

  3. We had a small campout in my backyard just to introduce the boys to the concept and this weekend is our first 'big' campout. We are camping in the local county forest preserve.


    We don't have a strict schedule. Mostly just optional activites for the boys to choose if they want.


    I have "challenge hike" cards where 2 or more boys can pick one, choose a trail and go do the challenge (challenges are "find and examine a tree stump" "identify poison ivy along the trail and as a vine on a tree", "identify 6 different trees" etc.)


    We have a forest preserve environmentalist taking us on a couple of group hikes to learn about different ecosystems.


    I'm also setting up "stations" around the camp that the boys can experience at their leisure. (knots, first aid, carving, kickball).


    I have several 'fireside chats' plan to discuss Leave No Trace, Hiking Safety, etc. (5-10 minute chats, 4 total over 3 days)


    We are also (as a group) going to learn how to safely build a fire, pitch a tent, etc.


    So, about 6 hours of "formal" stuff, 16 hours of sleep and 26 hours of free exploration.


    Am I missing anything??? Is this too much?? too little??

  4. I think it depends on the "culture" of Boy Scouts in your area. Our troops are designed to bridge the Webelos into their troop in Feb/March. We had one Webelo den leader push very hard for "her" Webs to be allowed to bridge over 5 months early because she felt they were "special" and more ready that the rest of the 5th graders in town. It created alot of resentment among the SMs because they had designed their programs to bring in the Webs from all the different packs at the same time for a new scout patrol. I believe she finally convince 1 SM to take them all as a NSP in October.

  5. Two questions...


    1. Who qualifies as a "trained instructor"? The local high school's swimming director has offered to help with whatever we need. She is certified in all of the Red Cross swimming/lifeguarding areas as well as a certified PE teacher. Would she be considered appropriate?


    2. How long does it take to swim a mile? I imagine it varies from a slow 11 year old to a varsity record holding 18 year old. What is the general range? (just curious)


    We have 1 boy in our troop who hates all things athletic, except swimming which he loves, I'm going to tell his parents about this. He has such low self-esteem that it breaks my heart, but if he could do this, WOW!

  6. May God grant Pat's family and friends the peace of knowing his life was well lived; that he made a difference in the lives of many children and that he is now in a place of eternal joy.


    May the good memories you share with each other provide comfort in the days ahead.

  7. As long as your budget is under $10K/year it isn't that expensive. Your council should be able to help. Just get a copy of another "Friends of Scouting" group's 501c3 application and copy it (using your troops contact info). It's a pretty basic thing, it should take 4-5 hours to deal with it.


    Now, if you are bigger than $10K/year, it gets more complicated.

  8. This is really 100% the parents call. Having held back two of my children in 1st grade, I would have had my son repeat Tigers had he been in it at the time. That way he is on track with the kids that he will be going to school with for the next 12 years. Now, my daughter's Girl Scout Troop of 12 girls had five held back in either kindergarten or 1st grade so everyone just decided we'd be a 2-grade troop and they stuck together.


    IMHO, no one from the Pack should offer an opinion. Let the family do what is best for their boy.

  9. "Successive Approximations" is a great way to do this. We have a Web with Autism who almost melted down at the idea of doing sit-ups or push-ups. His mom was in tears and the child was rapidly heading into full panic at the idea. First I told him that no one was going to force him to do the exercises (stop the panic). Once he was calm, I asked if he thought he could do 1 of each. He thought that was possible as long as no one but me and his mom looked at him when he did it, and he was able to do 1 of each. Now at future meetings when we do our 'fitness time', he will be in charge of the timer, then when 'no one is looking' we'll ask him to do 2 of each, etc.


    Break each task into its smaller steps and have him try 1 step. Once he gets that, have him try the next step, then steps 1-2 together, etc.



  10. Thanks John. Our council doesn't have a special needs committee yet but I am meeting with our advancement chair next month to touch base on how our boys are doing and get advice on planning the rest of the year. We are definitely going through our Merit Badge Counselor list with a cautious eye. We need creative people who understand that they may need to spend double the time they normally would with the boy(s) in addition to the support we will give them. We have two outstanding MBCs already onboard. Neither of them have boys in our troop but both have experience with a moderately disabled family member so they 'get it'.


    I'm really hoping that we can idenfity a dozen MBCs that would be good with our boys so that it is a positive experience for everyone and the boys will have a large selection of merit badges with good MBCs so that they can pick the ones they want to work on outside of the ones the troop will work on together. (I was dismayed to see how many people are MBCs for 25+ badges -- seriously? an expert in all that???)


    I'm attending my first Roundtable in a few weeks. The person in charge of it (I forgot his title) asked me to do a presentation on supporting scouts with special needs cause he knows many of the troops have boys with special needs and are struggling to support them. It feels a little weird to be both a first time Scoutmaster and a presenter

  11. Basement -- you'd be wrong.


    All of the boys in my troop have moderate to severe special needs. Currently, our oldest boys are 12. At the parent meeting we were looking through the merit badges trying to find 2-3 that all of our boys were capable of accomplishing as we want them to feel that pride in their efforts. We noticed that some of them had overlap and wondered how that was handled.


    Ideally, we'd like to have each boy earn a merit badge and a participation badge (from council event, etc) for each court of honor (every 3-4 months). Our boys don't typically earn awards (outside of Special Olympics) and they see other scouts with all the patches and they want to try.


    Will we have a boy make Eagle? Idk, maybe in 6-7 years, a very big maybe. That isn't the point. Our goal is to create an atmosphere where boys whose disabilities are too severe to truly participate in a regular troop still get the joy, pride and friendship of Boy Scouts.

  12. I agree that a scout should be able to demonstrate a learned skill to a new merit badge counselor.


    These were the ones where the questions came up:


    Athletics & Sports: Athletics requires participation in 1 season of a sport. Sports requires participation in 1 season of 2 different sports. Can the sport season used for Athletics count as one of the 2 for Sports?


    Dog Care & Pets: Dog Care requires taking care of a dog for 2 months, and Pets for four months...so do they have to do 6 months?


    Most of the water-related badges say to pass the BSA swimmers test. Once it is passed, does it have to be taken each time the scout goes to a water activity?



  13. Nope, I am a mom of 2 special needs boys and my younger one did Cub Scouts in a regular troop but despite a great Scoutmaster, he wasn't able to really be a part of a regular troop. His old Scoutmaster is our first Merit Badge Counselor (Camping).


    I taught special ed for 5 years and helped with his Webelo den.

  14. Hello all,


    I've been reading over many of the posts and I have learned alot already from your collective wisdom. Thank you.


    I am the Scoutmaster/Packmaster to a new special needs program in Illinois. We have started with a scout troop and a webelo den. We have over 2,000 moderately to severely special needs boys in our 5 town area so we are planning on growing to eventually (3-5 years) have a full Tiger to Adult program. (plus we already have a scout commuting to us from over an hour away!)


    None of our troop/pack volunteers have much experience with Boy Scouts but we have some amazing, experienced merit badge counselors already committed to working with our boys.


    We have our first overnight in less than two weeks. Wish us luck :)



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