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Oh, come on, mrkstvns,  we can adapt and help each other.  Of course it's an outdoor program, predominantly.  But Would you deny the kid in the wheel chair Scouting just because he/she might not be able to climb Mt. Baldy ?   Pollen masks are not a reason to deny a kid Scouting. Food allergies are not. Poison Ivy allergy (!) is not.  Fear of water is not.  I have watched a Scout without arms tie knots.  

What exactly is the "heart and soul" of Scouting?  Maybe Philmont should be one's goal.  Maybe earning Bobcat is a beginning, Maybe the Scout overcoming his  mom's fear of bugs is a goal.  I think B-P might say that the "outdoors" is the class room where the lessons are taught.  The "outdoors" are not  the lessons themselves.  

The Cub that won't button his uniform shirt because (so his mother says) "it's uncomfortable"  definitely has problems we may not be able to deal with as Scouters,  but being outdoors isn't one of them.  Perhaps (perhaps?)  we can help with those problems, perhaps not.  But denying the kid a chance because he/she has an "outdoor " problem  should never happen.  

"Safe Adventure " should be  our goal, yes? 

Will that be Earl Grey or Colombiano?  I think we have some peach cobbler over here...  

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10 minutes ago, SSScout said:

Oh, come on, mrkstvns,  we can adapt and help each other.  Of course it's an outdoor program, predominantly.  But Would you deny the kid in the wheel chair Scouting just because he/she might not be able to climb Mt. Baldy ?   Pollen masks are not a reason to deny a kid Scouting. Food allergies are not. Poison Ivy allergy (!) is not.  Fear of water is not.  I have watched a Scout without arms tie knots.   

You're only right to an extent....

OF COURSE we should be open to helping kids overcome barriers and enjoy the program to the extent possible, and I have NEVER said otherwise.  

NOBODY would ever deny scouting to a kid in a wheelchair, *BUT* neither should they deny the whole troop the OPPORTUNITY to go to Philmont and climb Mt. Baldy simply because that one kid in a wheelchair can't do it. That kid (and his parents) should recognize the child's limitations and instead only participate in those regularly scheduled activities in which their kid CAN participate safely, practically, and without the probability of personal failure and humiliation.

Turn the question around:  Would YOU deny your whole troop the chance to send a crew to Philmont because ONE parent demands that your program change to accomodate their child??

REASONABLE accomodations are reasonable. So too is awareness of the limitations and awareness of disabled members. So too would be good efforts to find adaptive solutions that let scouts extend the realm of what is or is not possible...

A scout troop's program is an OPPORTUNITY for boys to grow.  Diluting that program does a disservice to the many kids who can benefit from it.

That's a real shame....

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Specifically back to the point about campfires...

Does anybody REALLY think that it is in any way okay to stop doing campfires because some scout is sensitive to smoke?  SERIOUSLY?!

Campfires are a highlight of most troop's camping experience. They're fun. They provide a venue for boys to plan and lead. They create cameraderie. They're the reason many kids LIKE camping.

No responsible, competent adult scouter should entertain a parents' proposal to get rid of campfires. Instead, that parent should be asked to find ways to let their son participate comfortably, or to avoid campouts where a campfire is part of the regularly scheduled program. Campouts are an OPPORTUNITY, not a right.

Oddly enough, I find myself a bit embarassed to be so vigorously defending the right (or obligation) of a troop to do campfires....for several years, I've been promoting smaller campfires or campfire alternatives, but only for older scouts who embrace advanced "high adventure" camping and as part of Leave No Trace awareness. Small, low-impact and genuinely "no trace" campfires might be a reasonable activity for small units and more gung-ho outdoors-focused troops.  

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On 4/29/2019 at 10:58 AM, mrkstvns said:

Scouting is what it is, and let's face it, some kids just are NOT cut out to be scouts. 

See?  You are implying that Scouting should be limited to ONLY those kids who can do the whole outdoor thing !  Yes, some kids will self select themselves to not be Scouts. That's  OK, we do that all the time.  Not everyone is going to run a 4 minute mile. But we should not stop them from trying....  

Should the ADHD kid keep the rest f the Troop from their Northern Tier trip? certainly not.   Should the rest of the Troop help the ADHD kid overcome his limitations elsewhere?  I say yes, and the other Scouts will be the better for it.  

Will you be the one to tell the child he/she cannot try that trail just because they are on crutches?

  I sometimes serve as a guide on an Historic Trail, and one afternoon as I was doing a survey hike , pre-season, I came upon a man in a power chair with a woman accompanying.  We spoke, he was a disabled vet, and was traveling over our trail "just to see if I could".  Since the trail was certainly not "ADA " accessible,  I told him of the difficult parts ahead. He thanked me, his wife (the woman) smiled at me, and he continued.  We walked and talked some more as he proceeded.  His power chair became a mini 4 wheeler.  Sometimes he would get out and push alittle. When I motioned to help, his wife motioned me to not.   To my surprise and delight, he completed the trail. We shook hands and parted company.  Now, of course, this was a grown man, with no small amount of experience behind him ,  but should we , us "temporarily  abled"  , not allow any kid the right to TRY?   Perhaps with our help, but without it, if they want?    That is what I mean, and what I react to in your comments. Perhaps I read you wrong?

Honey or sugar?   Milk?   

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Ya know, SSScout, I think you and I are actually on the same page, just reading it from slightly different angles.

I have NEVER implied that scouting should be limited "to ONLY those kids who can do the whole outdoor thing".  On the other hand, I don't think we should be SACRIFICING any of the "whole outdoor thing" because one or more scouts SHOULD be self-selecting certain elements of the "whole thing".

I doubt that either of us will be anything less than 100% gung ho about helping a kid who needs a hand up, particularly when that scout has personal drive and ambition. A scout with a "can do" attitude will succeed regardless of what obstacles life might throw at him. I will cheer him on...

On the other hand, I think we've all seen boys get signed up in scouting (or sports, or other activities) just because mom or dad pushes them. 

Here's a story to illustrate...

A few years ago, I was coaching a youth soccer team. Our league had a policy of encouraging and supporting kids with physical and learning disabilities. That was usually a very good thing, and there were several kids who capitalized on the opportunity to overcome challenges. But they did it because they had precisely the kind of drive that you used as an example. They wanted it for THEMSELVES.  However, on one team I coached, we had a seriously autistic child who was MISERABLE on the team. The child was not really able to participate as a team player and appeared to be humiliated when his parents forced him to get out on the field with the other kids. He resisted as mom physically pulled him off the sidelines. He always wanted to run away. During practice and game days, mom would stand on the sidelines to intercept him. As much as I wanted the kid to succeed, it was very clear that he was NOT there because HE wanted to be there, but rather because MOM made him do it. I'm glad the kid has a mom who is devoted to him, but sad that mom sets him up for failure.  In my opinion, the mom would have done better by listening to the kid and letting him do activities that WOULD let him succeed. 

In that case, what can you do?  You and I are regular dads. We work for a living. And not as special educators, or as therapists or mental health professionals. We volunteer our time to provide opportunities for kids. It is simply not right for some parents to think that they can impose changes on our programs, or place demands on our time. Not right. 

When you and I volunteer to be scoutmasters, we provide a chance for kids to experience things. We want every kid to succeed....but within the confines of what we can do. 

In the case where I was a coach, should I have abandoned the game to chase after the one kid who didn't want to be there?  Should I have stopped coaching the team as a whole to devote all effort to one kid?  Should I have been expected to go earn a masters degree to learn how to successfully deal with the child who needs a professional, not a part-time volunteer?   

Somewhere, there must exist room for rational refusal of some kids in some activities and a need to educate the "special" parents as to what is and is not an acceptable accomodation. I am particularly resentful of the parents who think they have any right to demand more time and resources than I already give up voluntarily. I do what I can to support a program I believe in. I support any kid who wants to join in.  I don't support selfish parents who want a different program. 

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So, Mrkstvns... I take it with your comparison to the child on the sports team that didn't want to be there, you're implying you believe the campfire smoke allergy is a fake excuse the boy is giving because he doesn't want to be in Scouting, or maybe just doesn't want to camp? 

While I suppose that's possible, I think it's best to take the original post at face value and come up with solutions assuming there really is an allergy going on here. 

Nobody is suggesting that the entire troop do away with camp fires all together for every camping outing forevermore. But would it kill them (or their program) to give it up for a couple of week-long campouts so that one of their members can fulfill his required 11 nights? 

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9 hours ago, Liz said:

While I suppose that's possible, I think it's best to take the original post at face value and come up with solutions assuming there really is an allergy going on here. 

Most troops already do that, and I doubt there is a scoutmaster on this forum who would not bend over backwards to help any kid who really had a problem or issue.

In our own troop, probably at least HALF the campouts have no campfire. That's not always by design, it just works out that way because our state is often plagued by drought so we get "burn bans". 

We also don't do campfires on backpacking trips.  On advanced backpacker trips (longer with LNT practices used), we might practice a "campfire alternative", like using candle lanterns (this works well with small groups, like patrol size groups, but is an exercise in futility when we start getting 40 or 50 participants).

Lots of ways around the problem without ever deliberately sabotaging the traditional campout experience...

Have fun!

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