Special Needs Awareness Program Feature for Scouts BSA

hand prints special needs diversity

BSA has created updated versions of the Troop Program features for Scouts BSA. The Special Needs Awareness program feature is available in digital format on the BSA website or can be purchased as a publication from you local Scout Shop.

The Special Needs feature teaches Scouts to understand and appreciate the unique qualities and abilities of each person. Scouts learn to appreciate the challenges faced by people with special needs. The program feature includes some general information and some more specific ideas for meetings:

  • Understand what it means to have a disability
  • Research specific disabilities
  • Use appropriate language
  • Adaptive sports
  • Consider accessibility

Suggested troop meeting ideas are grouped by essential, challenging, or advanced. Here are a few you can see in the guide.

  • Make a list of disabilities (essential)
  • Discuss how people with disabilities can participate in activities (challenging)
  • Discuss how to help people with disabilities participate (advanced)
  • Learn to count in American Sign Language (essential)
  • Say the Scout Oath and Law in ASL (challenging)
  • Make a list of common words in Scouting and learn ASL for them (advanced)
  • Consider the accessibility of your meeting space (essential)
  • Make a list of improvements to your meeting space with would be helpful (challenging)
  • Discuss how to create a plan to improve access to your meeting space (advanced)
  • Learn about wheelchair basketball (essential)
  • Discuss the similarities and differences between wheelchair basketball and traditional basketball (challenging)
  • Learn about basketball teams which integrate players in wheelchairs with other players (advanced)

There are also several games suggested to keep things interesting at your troop meetings

  • Blindfolded Discoveries
  • Blindfolded Soccer
  • Blindfolded Steal the Bacon
  • Blind Tent Pitch
  • Blind Train
  • Handicap Obstacle Course
  • Identifying Sounds
  • One-Armed Volleyball
  • Say What?
  • Cane Maze
  • Disabled Tent Pitching

The plan even provides Scoutmaster’s minutes and ceremonies for meetings.

Then there is the “Main Event”. Once again, there are suggestions for essential, challenging, or advanced. Details and planning aids can be found in the online guide.

  • Volunteer at a Special Olympics event
  • Conduct a disabilities workshop for another unit or group
  • Lead a disabilities awareness camporee

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