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Special Needs Scouting July 2016 Newsletter

Special Needs Scouting 

Summer Camp Tips July 2016

Summer camp, and its schedule and focus on advancement activities can provide challenges to special needs scouts and their leaders.  Every scout is different and responds differently to the new environment.  This month we share some ideas from leaders within the Council that may help you in the camp setting.  Pick and choose from them as you need. You might discover that many of these ideas are helpful with the whole troop over the rest of the year!  

  • Create and implement a written Individual Scout Achievement Plan for the week(s) the boys are in camp.
  • Provide consistent, predictable structure. Be patient. Allow extra time for activities. Give Scouts additional assistance/time “back at the site” to work on merit badge requirements . 
  • A Scout with disabilities can be shadowed by his parent or an adult leader to his classes and then continue working with him during free time. Leaders might also pair the scout with another carefully chosen Scout as a buddy to help him during class.
  • If a Scout has trouble with camp merit badge instruction, leaders could plan to work with the Scout after camp to finish merit badges not completed at camp.
  • Establish a daily routine with the Scout. Review the schedule of activities at the beginning of the day or prior to the trip. Remind him that it is all about being adventurous, learning new things and having fun. Try to prepare in advance as much as possible in order to minimize any shortfalls.
  • Give the Scout information about new activities ahead of time and let the Scout know about transitions early, “In five minutes we’ll be ending this activity and starting another.”
  • Provide a visual schedule using words and pictures. All Scouts will find this useful.
  • Break tasks up into smaller, more manageable, steps.
  • Alert the Scout if there is going to be an activity that may cause sensory difficulties for him. Consider moving noisy activities outside where the noise can dissipate.
  • Flies and mosquitoes can be an issue for some boys with sensory issues. During the day, ear plugs and sun glasses helps reduce the attention on these critters, and helps maintain focus during merit badge class. Of course the bug spray is a must.
  • If the Scout has issues with food taste and texture, carefully plan the menus around these issues so the Scout can eat the same things as other members of the unit as much as possible.
  • Respect and encourage the use of any type of communication that the Scout uses. Be sure to alert camp staff of any communication issues that your Scouts have as well as how to best work with them.
  • Taking multiple merit badge classes requires a significant amount of information to process and classes can become a bit overwhelming.  Allow 20 minutes a day for alternative input stimulation such as 1 of 3 games on an electronic device.
  • It is easy for a special needs scout to isolate from the group. The patrol leader should be made aware so that there is a good amount interaction with the rest of the patrol or group. Assigning a buddy and a number of tasks helps keep the scout involved.  Most importantly, let your scout know that he is doing a good job. Keeping the boys motivated and in a positive mood, makes for good week at camp.

*** BSA’s Primary Special Needs Scouting Resource   External Link

WPC’s Primary Special Needs Scouting Resource 

SNS Committee Primary Contact Info 
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