Baltimore Area CouncilProgramAdvancementRegistration and Advancement for Scouts with Special Needs

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. These youth do not need to join a special unit oriented to serving members with disabilities, 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,” 10.1.0.0.

When knowledgeable parents, guardians, or volunteers are able to provide assistance and oversight, almost 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: 2021 Guide to Advancement 33088 page 76

 
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 youth in a wheelchair cannot pass requirements calling for walking or running. In these cases, Cubmasters and pack committees may jointly determine appropriate substitutions that are consistent with the Cub Scout doing his or her best. For example, elective requirements could take the place of those required. Or in consultation with a parent or guardian, other minor adjustments representing similar challenges could be made.

Source: 2021 Guide to Advancement 33088 page 78 section 10.2.1.0

 

Advancement in Scouts BSA for Scouts with Disabilities

Members must meet current advancement requirements as written for merit badges, all ranks, and Eagle Palms—no more and no less—and they are to do exactly what is stated. If it says, “Show or demonstrate,” that is what they must do; just “telling” isn’t enough. The same holds for words and phrases such as “make,” “list,” “in the field,” “collect,” “identify,” and “label.” Requests for alternative requirements for Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks can be made using the information outlined below.

Alternatives are not available for the Star, Life, and Eagle rank requirements. Scouts may request approval for alternative merit badges, but the other requirements for those three ranks must be fulfilled as written.

Source: 2021 Guide to Advancement 33088 page 78 section 10.2.2.0

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 cognitive disability, or a disability expected to last more than two years or beyond age 18, who is unable to complete all the requirements for Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, or First Class rank may, with his or her parent or guardian, and also the unit leader or a member of the troop committee, 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, alternative requirements must be completed by the Scout's 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 Second Class requirement 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 special needs.
             

Source: 2021 Guide to Advancement 33088 page 78 section 10.2.2.1

 

Advancement for Venturers and Sea Scouts With Disabilities

With a parent or guardian, Venturer-age or Sea Scout–age youth with disabilities must consider the programs presented by individual crews or ships. The activities involved must fit within the capabilities of the prospective member. Discussions with crew Advisors or ship Skippers can reveal what is possible and what is not. Generally, crews may be more able to offer flexibility for members with disabilities than ships. For example, safety concerns onboard a vessel may present barriers difficult or impossible to overcome.

Source: 2021 Guide to Advancement 33088 page 80 section 10.2.3.2

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 Venturing, Discovery, Pathfinder, and Summit ranks, and the various Venturing Awards may be made, however, using the same qualifications and process outlined under “How to Apply for Alternative Requirements,” 10.2.2.2. As with alternative requirements for Scout through First Class ranks, we must be dealing with permanent physical or cognitive 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: 2021 Guide to Advancement 33088 page 80 section 10.2.3.2

 

Working Toward Sea Scout Awards

All current Sea Scout rank requirements must actually be met by the candidate. There are no substitutions or alternatives permitted except those specifically stated in current requirements, or as outlined below or otherwise set forth in official literature. The Sea Scout is expected to meet the 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 “teach,” “lead,” “take command,” and so on.

With the full cooperation of a ship committee and Skipper, it may be possible for some youth with disabilities to participate in Sea Scout advancement. The requirements are specific, not based on interchangeable merit badges, and they build from rank to rank. The prospective member, with parent or guardian, should review the requirements to determine whether advancement is feasible with reasonable flexibility. If ship leaders agree, then the same qualifications and process apply, as outlined under “How to Apply for Alternative Requirements,” 10.2.2.2. As with alternative requirements for Scout through First Class, we must be dealing with permanent physical or cognitive disabilities, or in the case of Sea Scouts, disabilities expected to last more than two years or beyond age 21. Council advancement committee approval for alternative requirements is required in the same way, but to approve those for Sea Scouts the committee must involve an adult with thorough knowledge of Sea Scout advancement and rank requirements. Unless a Sea Scout has been approved to register beyond the age of eligibility, alternative requirements must be completed by the 21st birthday.

Source: 2021 Guide to Advancement 33088 page 80 section 10.2.3.3

 
Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Flicker LinkedIn

Baltimore Area Council

701 Wyman Park | Baltimore MD | 21211
(443) 573-2500

Broad Creek Memorial Scout Reservation
1929 Susquehanna Hall Road | Whiteford, MD | 21160
410-420-4090

 

 Schapiro Scout Service Center (Council headquarters)
Monday - Friday: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Email:
scouting@baltimorebsa.org

© 2019 Baltimore Area Council, Boy Scouts of America. All rights reserved.