Westchester-Putnam Council has support for all unit leaders that have youth with Special Needs ….
The Special Needs Scouting Committee has been formed to address the growing demand from packs, troops, crews and all scouting units for full support for all youth with any special needs and/or disabilities.
The SNS Committee meets monthly (except July) on the last Thursday of the month at the Council Service Center in Hawthorne, 7:30--8:30pm and we encourage any leader that is curious or has an interest in learning more about our SNS Committee or disability awareness efforts to join our meetings. Every unit should have an adult Special Needs Advocate and attending our meetings is a terrific way to learn how the SNS Committee is a helpful resource to unit leaders!
Special Needs Scouting Committee:
Tom McCandless - Committee Chair Donna Ragusa – WPC, Vice President of Program
Algonquin: Steve Baker, Rob Levine, Tom McCandless, Monica Moss, Charlie Zegers
Manitoga: Kathleen Kaiser
Mohican: Lindsay Buttenschon, Paxton Louis, Steve Owen, Donna Ragusa, Dominick Venturini
Muscoot: Richard Donovan, Crystal Kennedy & Christine Zirkelbach
Professional Advisor: Dan Conniff
For any specific inquiries please contact the SNS Committee by email: SNScouting@wpcbsa.net
Our Mission Statement
Our mission is to support and encourage all scouting youth with special needs & their families; & to offer equal opportunities for these scouts to participate to the best of their abilities in a rewarding scouting experience within the Westchester-Putnam Council, BSA.
Assist all Scout Leaders developing and coordinating an effective Scouting program for scouts with disabilities and special needs, using all available BSA & community resources.
Special Needs Scouting - All Unit Survey
In order to serve you better, we ask that each unit complete this 1-page survey by May 31, 2016. The purpose of this quick survey is to understand better the demographics and breadth of population of youth served with ANY special needs in Westchester-Putnam Council.
This survey does not ask for names of individuals and the info will be held in strict confidence.
Special Needs Scouting Unit Survey (please complete by May 31, 2016)
How the Special Need Scouting Committee Supports Units & Council:
• Promote all aspects of Disability Awareness • Assist & Approve Advancement Alternatives
• Assist with Disability-specific Advancement • Assist & Approve Alternative Registration
• Provide Community Service Opportunities • Assist with Onboarding new scouts & Intake Assessments (as needed)
• Provide Exceptional & Continuous Training • Present Annual Awards to Scouters & Scouts for Exceptional Service
• Other Council-specific Strategic Initiatives (longer term):
Program Adaptations for Council-wide Events, inc disAbilities Awareness Challenge (dAC)
Develop & Promote New Special Needs Scouting Units
Provide Input & Assist with Needed Property Adaptations & Accessibility
Assist with Strategic Funding For These Initiatives
Key Messages to all Units:
• The WPC Special Needs Scouting Committee is an enormous & available resource; visit our monthly meetings!
• Be prepared and welcoming of any special needs youth & their family that wants to join your unit.
• Let your youth leaders know that your unit is available to potential Special Needs youth.
• Be aware of alternative membership registration and advancement substitutes, reach out to our Special Needs Scouting Committee for assistance.
• Depending upon the severity of the disability or handicap, reach out to the Special Needs Scouting Committee to assist with a suggested pre-joining family conference.
Special Needs Advisory Members
The Special Needs Scouting Committee has developed a team of professionals that have spent the majority of their professional lives serving the special needs community.
The purpose of this Special Needs Advisory team is to assist in the following areas:
1) provide professional input in ruling on alternative registration requests.
2) provide professional training opportunities through University of Scouting.
3) provide professional input for community service opportunities.
4) provide professional advisory input for disAbilities Awareness Challenge events.
Gayle Cratty - NFP Executive, Statewide Rep OPWDD, Board Member SPARC
Robert M Tudisco, ESQ - ADHD Specialist, Board Member CHADD
Judy Gillet - Special Education Teacher, BOCES, Pines Bridge School Yorktown Heights
Evan Latainer & Anna Masopust - Westchester County Office for the Disabled, Board Members Miracle League of Westchester
Matt Phillips & Max Montgomery - The Tommie Cares Foundation
Paul Rowe - Wee Zee World; Occupational Therapy Specialist
Tricia Zarro - Regular Ed Teacher Dobbs Ferry for inclusive classroom; Inclusion Director - Camp Combe; Therapeutic Recreation & Autism Spectrum Specialist