Looking for someone to contact about Special Needs Scouting in Denver? Here's a list of Special Needs volunteers and Commissioners and the Special Needs Organization Chart.
The Special Needs Scouting supports the special needs of all districts and programs of the Denver Area Council (DAC). Our mission is to:
- MAKE AWARE aspects of special needs that impact youth, as well as leadership through specialized training seminars held by experts in related fields, and interactive web sites.
- DEVELOP RELATIONSHIPS with youth, parents, leaders, units, and other personnel to be available to answer questions, seek advice and provide resources that provide the best relationship possible.
- HELP RESOLVE Special Needs issues by having the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to effectively mediate solutions with a leader, parent and/or youth.
- PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES to Special Needs youth in the Denver Area to participate in Scouting programs while exposing Scouts in the Denver Area to Learning for Life program and activity.
The programs offered by our Council include:
- Learning for Life--a Pre K-12 program that supports schools and other youth-serving organizations in their efforts to prepare youth to successfully handle the complexities of today's society. We seek to enhance our youths' self-confidence, motivation, and self-worth. We also offers career development in the high school years through our Exploring subprogram. Our Learning for Life program provides a special subprogram tailored to those with special needs.
- Cub Scouts—a program for boys in first through fifth grades.
- Boy Scouts—an outdoors and camping-oriented program targeted to male youth from (typically) the end of fifth grade through 18 years. To become a Boy Scout does not require involvement in Cub Scouts.
- Varsity Scouts--an athletic program targeted toward active young men aged 14 through 17.
- Venturing—a coed program which targets young adults. Each Venturing crew has a specialty (special interest)--and those interests vary widely! Themes for example may be in the areas of arts and hobbies, religion, medicine or Indian dancing. Venturing participants are typically those young men and women who have completed eighth grade up through the age of 20.
While the age levels listed above for the various programs are standard, accommodations and modifications can be arranged for youth with special needs. Scouting offers a "very wide tent." Our goal is to offer Scouting as a viable choice in every young person's life.
All programs pursue a common approach called “Prepared. For Life.”™. This includes Boy Scouts of America‘s (BSA‘s) expectations for character development and ethical behavior, for example, kindness, helpfulness and service to the community. Therefore members with special needs are welcome. Our adult leaders are furthermore trained to protect youth from any form of abuse, including emotional abuse such as harassment or teasing.
Bear in mind that Scouting is run by volunteers. While parental involvement is not required it is strongly encouraged! While it can be overdone, parental involvement is an important success factor--especially for youth with special needs.
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have always considered special needs in our programs. For example, the Boy Scout Handbook was first printed in Braille in the 1920s shortly after the BSA was founded. We of the Denver Area Council (part of the BSA) have been progressive in supporting special needs, for example, providing at Peaceful Valley one of the first handicap accessible tent sites for a BSA summer camp facility.
BSA’s approach has generally been to “mainstream” youth with disabilities rather than provide special programs that isolate and separate them. Youth with specials needs typically participate in units along with ordinary kids, engaging in the same activities and following the same rules. Scouting programs are generally designed so special skills are not required to succeed, just perseverance and the right attitude. Accommodations can be made for the disabled who cannot meet requirements in the conventional way. An equivalent level of effort and achievement is expected in such cases.
The Denver Area Council also offers Troop 5280, which is designed to help boys with special needs learn their basic scouting skills and acclimate to Scouting before transitioning to a traditional troop.
The following links provide additional information tailored to specific audiences:
To obtain further information, please contact Carla Johnson, Special Needs District Executive at 720.266.2140.
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