Baltimore Area CouncilProgramAdvancementAdvancement for Scouts With Disabilities

Advancement for Members with Special Needs
Youth with physical disabilities and youth and adults with developmental or cognitive challenges are welcome in the Boy Scouts of America. As outlined in this section, various accommodations exist to facilitate advancement.  A special unit oriented to serving members with disabilities need not be joined, although those exist and may be beneficial in some cases. The severity of disability will indicate how members should be registered.  See “Registering Qualified Members Beyond Age of Eligibility,”

When parents or volunteers are able to provide assistance and oversight, most anyone can be a member. While leaders should be enthusiastic about helping those with special needs, they should also recognize the demands that will be placed on their patience, understanding, and skill, in working on advancement.

Source: 2011 Guide to Advancement 33088 page 60


Scouts with Disabilities and Special Needs Page Links

Mission Statement Overview Advancement for Youth Members With Disabilities Definition Membership for Scout with Disabilities Advancement for Scout with Disabilities
Registration Requirements Process for Documenting a Disability Process for Registering Beyond Age of Eligibility Alternate Rank Advancement Requirements Process for Requesting Alternate Rank Advancement Requirements
Alternate Merit Badges for the Eagle Scout Rank Scout with Disability and Special Needs Forms and Links Guide for Merit Badge Counselor     


Advancement for Cub Scouts with Disabilities

Advancement is so flexible that, with guidance, most Cub Scouts with disabilities can complete requirements. The standard is, “Has he done his best?” It may take him longer to attempt requirements and demonstrate this, but his accomplishments will be rewarding to him, his parents, and his leaders.

There could be times, however, when a Cub Scout’s “best” isn’t enough even to get a start. For example, a boy in a wheelchair cannot pass requirements calling for walking or running. In these cases, Cubmasters and pack committees may jointly determine appropriate substitutions. For example, elective requirements could take the place of those found in achievements. Or in consultation with parents, other adjustments representing similar challenges could be made.

Source: 2011 Guide to Advancement 33088 page 61 section


Advancement for Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts with Disabilities


Using Alternative Requirements

A degree of modification in advancement requirements may be necessary to mainstream as many members with disabilities as possible. Thus a Scout with a permanent physical or mental disability (or a disability expected to last more than two years or beyond the 18th birthday) who is unable to complete all the requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, or First Class rank may, with his parent or guardian, submit a request to the council advancement committee to complete alternative requirements. Unless a Scout has been approved to register beyond the age of eligibility, then alternative requirements must be completed by the 18th birthday. The procedures appear below. This avenue is also available to youth with longer-term disabilities (such as those related to a severe injury) who want to continue advancing during recovery.

Simple modifications very close to existing requirements need not be approved. A Scout in a wheelchair, for example, may meet the requirements for hiking by “wheeling” to a place of interest. Allowing more time and permitting special aids are also ways leaders can help Scouts with disabilities make progress. Modifications, however, must provide a very similar challenge and learning experience.

The outcomes of the Scouting experience should be fun and educational, and not just relate to completing rank requirements that might place unrealistic expectations on a member who has a disability.

Source: 2011 Guide to Advancement 33088 page 62 section


Advancement for Venturers and Sea Scouts With Disabilities

Working Toward Venturing Awards

The candidate must meet all current award requirements. There are no substitutions or alternatives permitted except those specifically stated in current requirements, or as outlined below or set forth in official literature, or where crew Advisors have been provided flexibility with certain awards. The Venturer is expected to meet requirements as stated—no more and no less. If it says, “Show or demonstrate,” for example, that is what he or she must do; just telling about it isn’t enough. The same holds true for such words or phrases as “make,” “list,” “in the field,” “collect, identify, and label,” and so on.

Requests for alternative requirements for Bronze, Gold, Silver, Ranger, Quest, and TRUST awards may be made, however, using the same qualifications and process outlined under “How to Apply for Alternative Requirements,” As with alternative requirements for Tenderfoot through First Class ranks, we must be dealing with permanent physical or mental disabilities, or in the case of Venturers, disabilities expected to last more than two years or beyond age 21. Council advancement committee approval for alternate requirements is required in the same way, but to approve those for Venturing, the committee must involve an adult with thorough knowledge of Venturing advancement and awards. Unless a Venturer has been approved to register beyond the age of eligibility, then alternative requirements must be completed by the 21st birthday.

Source: 2011 Guide to Advancement 33088 page 64 section

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