“Scouting helps by giving Scouts with disabilities an opportunity to prove to themselves and to others that they can do things- and difficult things too- for themselves.” ~ Lord Baden-Powell, Founder of the Scouting Movement
The Boy Scouts of America, Alamo Area Council, Scouts with Disabilities Committee (SWD) is committed to making Scouting accessible and enjoyable to all boys and Venture age girls regardless of their abilities.
Since its founding in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has included fully participating members with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. The BSA’s policy is to treat members with disabilities as much like other members as possible. It has been traditional however, to make some accommodations in advancement if absolutely necessary. By adapting the environment and/or our instruction methods, most Scouts with disabilities can be successful in Scouting.
The basic premise of Scouting for youth with disabilities is full participation. Youth with disabilities can be treated and respected like every other member of their unit. They want to participate like other youth- and Scouting provides that opportunity.
An individual is considered to have a “disability” if she or he:
- has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities- seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, learning, caring for oneself, and working,
- has a record of such an impairment, or
- is regarded as having such an impairment.
There are many resources available to parents and leaders of Scouts with disabilities and special needs. Contact the SWD committee by email at ScoutsWithDisabilities@AlamoAreaBSA.org, if you need help with:
- Registering a special needs child in Scouting
- Finding or starting a special needs Scout unit
- Adapting rank or other requirements to accommodate a special needs Scout
- Filing Eagle Scout Alternate merit badge form with the council
- Identifying camping opportunities for special needs Scouts
- Developing an Individual Scouting Plan for a special needs Scout
- Conducting Scouts with Disabilities and special needs training for your group
- Assistance with the Disabilities Awareness merit badge
- General support for families and units with special needs Scouts
- Nominating someone for the Torch of Gold Award
- Nominating someone for the Woods Services Award