Adult Scouting leaders world-wide take part in a training program called Wood Badge. Baden-Powell (B-P), the founder of Scouting, hosted the first Wood Badge course in 1919. Every nation in the World Organization of the Scout Movement today recognizes Wood Badge training.
B-P’s first adult leader course was called a “scoutmaster training course.” When the course was finished, the participants asked B-P for a token to mark their achievement. B-P hadn’t thought about it, but he came across a necklace of wooden beads he acquired as a war prize during his military career. He gave beads to the participants. This gave the course its name: Wood Badge.
The beads have a story of their own.
Continue reading The Postcolonial Wood Badge Story
This links to a series of videos on advancement for Cubs and Scouts BSA with special needs or disabilities. The videos include:
- Do’s and Don’ts for Advancement: how to do it right and avoid trouble.
- Scouts BSA Alternative Requirements and Extensions: how to apply.
The contents may be rearranged to better present the information.
DISCLAIMER: While I have based this production on official information and have tried to ensure accuracy, it has not been reviewed and endorsed by any official organization within the BSA.
I was recently asked for guidance from a merit badge counselor working with a Scout whose learning abilities are severely affected by Down syndrome. The Scout could master the physical aspects of the badge but struggled with the “discuss” and “explain” requirements.
Here are my thoughts. They are not anyone’s gospel. I’d love to hear what guidelines other people use.
Continue reading Six Thoughts on Merit Badge Requirements and Learning Challenges
A rumor says children with Down syndrome can’t earn the Eagle Scout award.
This is nonsense. See stories about Coleman and Brandt, Adam, Zach and Mike, Elliott, another Zach, Max, Daniel, and a third Zach.
Not every Scout can hike and swim, and not every Scout advances as fast as every other. If a Scout has a bona fide medical condition, like Down Syndrome, the Scout can still take the trail to Eagle.
Some Scouts follow their own, customized trail. Alternate requirements need special approval. Scouts can get time extensions in special circumstances.
Caveat: I’m speaking as someone with a lot of experience with Scouting and special needs, and not in any official capacity within Boy Scouts.
Continue reading How Boys with Down Syndrome Become Eagle Scouts
About 1 in 8 kids these days have a “special need” or “invisible disability” or something else that poses a challenge in traditionally structured situations like school or Scouting. In ages past, a Scout leader could expel or “ease out” a Scout that presented behavior problems or otherwise didn’t “fit.”
It’s important to talk about how we will work with kids in the normal troop environment with special needs. ADHD, autism down syndrome. Leaders need tips on how to handle kids, their parents and medication.
Continue reading Typical Troops, Atypical Scouts
I’m always looking for better ways to understand invisible disabilities with an eye towards helping Scouts and Scouters succeed in the movement. This one is pretty general, but it gives me some food for thought: The Ultimate List of Gifts for Sensory Seekers, from Mama OT’s blog.
I especially like that the second paragraph warns of overstimulation. There’s a tendency to think that if “a little of X” makes things good, then “a lot of X” makes things better. It’s important to know when and when not to indulge.
Here’s the bottom line: If the Scout participates in any type of religious organization, whether it speaks of God or not, there’s no problem.
If the Scout perceives some power, essence, being, or motive force in the universe that could deserve to be called ‘God,’ there should be no problem.
On the other hand, if the Scout or Scout’s family’s personal beliefs forbid referring to any entity as ‘God’ then the Scout could have trouble participating in BSA’s Scouting programs.
Here’s how it works.
Continue reading A Scout’s Required Belief in God