Looking for someone to contact about special needs Scouting in the Denver area? If you are an adult leader, consult our roster of special needs commissioners to contact a coordinator from your district. For general questions send us an email or call Carla Johnson, Special Needs District Executive, at 720.266.2140. In addition, you can download our organization chart here and can contact our Webmaster at this address.
Our Special Needs Team supports the special needs of all districts and programs of the Denver Area Council. 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.
All our programs pursue a common approach called “Prepared. For Life.”™ which includes expectations for character development and ethical behavior. Among other things, our values include kindness, helpfulness and service to the community. Adult leaders are also trained to protect youth from any form of abuse, including harassment and teasing. We, and our youth, welcome those with special needs.
Scouting has long reached out to those with special needs. For example, we printed the first Braille Boy Scout Handbook in the 1920s, shortly after our founding. The Handbook is now available both in Braille and recorded form. We in the Denver area have offered services through our Special Needs Team for many years and maintain two ADA compliant summer camps.
We offer programs for all youth, male and female, ranging from Kindergarten through twenty-one years in age and in some cases older. Besides traditional programs such as the Boy and Cub Scouts, we offer the Learning for Life (LFL) program that supplements the K12 curriculum and offers career guidance. LFL includes the Champions program, which is tailored for the intellectually challenged. To learn more about our various programs, read our flyer and visit the Programs menu toward the top left of this page.
Volunteers run the Scouts. While we do not require parental involvement, we strongly encourage it! It can be overdone but parental involvement is an important success factor, especially for youth with special needs.
We generally prefer to “mainstream” youth with disabilities rather than provide special programs that isolate and separate them. Youth with special needs typically participate in our units alongside ordinary kids, engaging in the same activities and following the same rules. We design Scouting programs 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 conventional ways. We expect an equivalent level of effort and achievement in such cases.
We also offer Pack 5280 and Troop 5280 (see photo to the left), which cater for youth who are not ready or able to join conventional units. We plan to offer more such units in the near future.
For further information please refer to the following links