Abilities Digest

Abilities Digest Abilities Digest is a quarterly newsletter by the Boy Scouts of America to help ensure inclusion of youth of all abilities in Scouting. Subscribe by email, through Facebook, or on the web site.
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For over a century, Boy Scouts have served others at all times. In fact, the Boy Scouts of America was founded on the premise that to be a good citizen you must do for others.

For over a century, Boy Scouts have served others at all times. In fact, the Boy Scouts of America was founded on the premise that to be a good citizen you must do for others.

Operating as usual

Here is Abilities Digest Volume 8, number 1 for Spring 2021. Here is a summary of the contents: Adapting Activities: Pre...
05/10/2021
Abilities Digest Spring 2021 Issue

Here is Abilities Digest Volume 8, number 1 for Spring 2021. Here is a summary of the contents: Adapting Activities: Preparing for summer camp; parents and youth with special needs sharing tents; waterfront and boating accessibility. Adapting Advancement: The ISAP and the IEP. Awareness Events: Membership and unit growth roundtable for special needs and disabilities; training events at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in 2021; making family memories at Philmont Training Center....

http://ablescouts.org/2021/05/10/abd-spring-21/

Here is Abilities Digest Volume 8, number 1 for Spring 2021. Here is a summary of the contents: Adapting Activities: Preparing for summer camp; parents and youth with special needs sharing tents; w…

02/26/2021

Food Allergies.

All of our units are invested in keeping their participants safe, and well-fed. Sometimes, we get calls from Scout leaders who are frustrated by a parent's persistence and involvement about food, especially at the Scouts BSA level.

The unit leaders who are frustrated have already tried to implement safety standards to the best of their abilities. They have read the labels, and done all the things that common sense dictates. Unfortunately, for many with food allergies, that common sense approach doesn't ensure their safety.

The parent that appears to be wildly over-involved and concerned about food allergens is simply advocating to keep the Scout safe. After having dealt with medical emergencies and poor reactions, families may appear militant to others who haven't experienced the same traumas. Many packaged food sources are made in factories that also process allergens--some of which could prove deadly to those who react. Frustratingly, it is impossible to know if this is true by looking at a package.

It is absolutely possible for a Scout with a significant food allergy to camp--safely. Some units simply choose to eschew any foods which involved the Scout's allergens. Others may prep several different dishes each meal, taking care not to cross contaminate food.

If your unit needs assistance in successfully integrating a safe protocol for Scouting with a food allergy, message us here. We really can help.

The following was a response to a problem encountered by a Scout parent. It originally appeared in the Summer 2020 issue...
02/09/2021
When Unit Leaders Reject an Accommodation

The following was a response to a problem encountered by a Scout parent. It originally appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of Abilities Digest. Here is the dilemma: the Scout has immunization problems and the Scout’s physician suggests the Scout be isolated while camping. The unit leadership does not agree. Having a special needs child requires information and help from friends and professionals....

http://ablescouts.org/2021/02/09/leaders-reject-accommodation/

The following was a response to a problem encountered by a Scout parent. It originally appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of Abilities Digest. Here is the dilemma: the Scout has immunization problem…

This article appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of Abilities Digest. When a group of young friends reach Scouting age, th...
02/02/2021
Choosing a Unit for a Scout with Special Needs

This article appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of Abilities Digest. When a group of young friends reach Scouting age, there is often a discussion of whether to join a pack or troop, and then which one to join. Parents get involved, and careful parents will try to identify the best unit for their own child to join. The choice can be tricky for youth with special needs or disabilities....

http://ablescouts.org/2021/02/02/choosing-snd-unit/

This article appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of Abilities Digest. When a group of young friends reach Scouting age, there is often a discussion of whether to join a pack or troop, and then which …

This article appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of Abilities Digest. Scouters who support Scouting with special needs thr...
01/26/2021
Earning the Special Needs Scouting Service Award

This article appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of Abilities Digest. Scouters who support Scouting with special needs through service to units, youth training, leader training, or organization, may be nominated for the Torch of Gold or Woods Services Award. Both of these require nomination. The Torch is presented by each council once a year, and the Woods Services is presented nationally once a year....

http://ablescouts.org/2021/01/26/snssa-4/

This article appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of Abilities Digest. Scouters who support Scouting with special needs through service to units, youth training, leader training, or organization, may …

01/19/2021

A correction to the recent - and now withdrawn - post about the Jamboree. The Jamboree post repeats an article from last fall’s Abilities Digest issue. I now hear that the 2022 Jamboree may also be rescheduled thanks to COVID. At this point we may end up waiting for 2025.

01/12/2021

The national deadline to nominate a Scouter for the Woods Services Award is January 31! Nominate a capable scouter!

You have a den full of very active WEBELOS. You have discovered they are mostly kids who have been diagnosed with Attent...
01/12/2021
Managing Behavior in an Active Den

You have a den full of very active WEBELOS. You have discovered they are mostly kids who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). and a couple of them are “on the spectrum” too. You don’t really know what all of this labeling means; all you see are the results of whatever it is that they “have.” Kind of reminds you of a tornado at moments, but you have noticed you can keep semi-control if you keep a schedule and keep shifting the activities to suit the interest levels....

http://ablescouts.org/2021/01/12/den-behavior/

You have a den full of very active WEBELOS. You have discovered they are mostly kids who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). and a couple of  them are “on…

An Adaptive Philmont Adventure for Scouts with Special Needs and Disabilities June 27-July 3, 2021. The Zia Experience i...
01/05/2021
Philmont Offers the Zia Experience

An Adaptive Philmont Adventure for Scouts with Special Needs and Disabilities June 27-July 3, 2021. The Zia Experience is a modified BSA Family Adventure Camp at the Philmont Training Center focusing on giving Scouts with special needs and disabilities, their parent(s), family members, and/or caregiver(s) new and exciting Philmont adventures! This experience is designed to build bonds and create memories for the entire family through fun and interactive programs....

http://ablescouts.org/2021/01/05/zia-experience/

An Adaptive Philmont Adventure for Scouts with Special Needs and Disabilities June 27-July 3, 2021. The Zia Experience is a modified BSA Family Adventure Camp at the Philmont Training Center focusi…

For the last two years the national committee has been hard at work on the replacement for the 2007 Scouting for Youth w...
12/31/2020
The Inclusion Toolbox Is Coming Soon

For the last two years the national committee has been hard at work on the replacement for the 2007 Scouting for Youth with Disabilities Manual. The new product will be rolled out on Scouting.org as a web-based information resource and the title will be the Special Needs and Disabilities Inclusion Toolbox, or Toolbox for short. The Toolbox is designed to support several different audiences with actionable knowledge. ...

http://ablescouts.org/2020/12/31/inclusion-toolbox/

For the last two years the national committee has been hard at work on the replacement for the 2007 Scouting for Youth with Disabilities Manual. The new product will be rolled out on Scouting.org …

This article appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of Abilities Digest. Many Scouts get nervous before a Board of Review. Th...
12/22/2020
Say Good-bye to Board of Review Anxiety

This article appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of Abilities Digest. Many Scouts get nervous before a Board of Review. They feel like they’re going to the dentist or something equally anxiety provoking. A knee bounces up and down between “Yes, Ma’am” and “No, Sir” abbreviated nervous answers. Hands fidget and you might notice a muscle twitch here and there....

http://ablescouts.org/2020/12/22/bor-anxiety/

This article appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of Abilities Digest. Many Scouts get nervous before a Board of Review. They feel like they’re going to the dentist or something equally anxiety provok…

This article from Scouting Magazine discusses the work in assistive technology by adult Eagle Scouts Buddy Marshall (lef...
12/19/2020
Scouters and Assistive Technology

This article from Scouting Magazine discusses the work in assistive technology by adult Eagle Scouts Buddy Marshall (left) and Mark Chilutti. Mark Chilutti is a member of the BSA's National Special Needs and Disabilities Committee.

http://ablescouts.org/2020/12/19/scouters-and-assistive-technology/

This article from Scouting Magazine discusses the work in assistive technology by adult Eagle Scouts Buddy Marshall (left) and Mark Chilutti. Mark Chilutti is a member of the BSA’s National S…

Overview This award was established to provide clear and visible recognition to adults, volunteer and professional, who ...
12/18/2020
Special Needs Scouting Service Award

Overview This award was established to provide clear and visible recognition to adults, volunteer and professional, who serve the community of members with disabilities/special needs of the Scouting movement. This award is earned by direct action on behalf of members with disabilities/special needs and by spreading the ideals of inclusiveness, diversity, and disability awareness in Scouting. The award is intended to create enhanced visibility of the resources available to serve these members and to ensure their success in Scouting....

http://ablescouts.org/2020/01/02/snssa-3/

Overview This award was established to provide clear and visible recognition to adults, volunteer and professional, who serve the community of members with disabilities/special needs of the Scoutin…

Here is Abilities Digest Volume 7, number 4 for Fall 2020. Here is a summary of the contents: Adapting Advancement: Swim...
12/07/2020
Abilities Digest Fall 2020 Issue

Here is Abilities Digest Volume 7, number 4 for Fall 2020. Here is a summary of the contents: Adapting Advancement: Swimming deferments for advancement; Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge. Adapting Activities: Managing behavior in an active den; Philmont offers the Zia Experience. Enhancing Awareness: National training events in 2021; the Inclusion Toolbox is coming soon. Recognizing Abilities: Your fellow Scouter deserves the Torch of Gold, and perhaps the Woods Services Award. abd v07n4 FinalDownload

http://ablescouts.org/2020/12/06/abd-fall-20/

Here is Abilities Digest Volume 7, number 4 for Fall 2020. Here is a summary of the contents: Adapting Advancement: Swimming deferments for advancement; Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge.Adapting …

Britt Flather of the National SND Committee shares the following: Our family attended the Philmont Training Center Speci...
11/17/2020
Video Preview of the Philmont Conference

Britt Flather of the National SND Committee shares the following: Our family attended the Philmont Training Center Special Needs Scouting Conference in 2019. Here are a few highlights from our adventure and why we believe you should consider PTC in 2021! The Adaptive Special Needs Week conference is scheduled June 27- July 3. This newly developed national training spends a week learning best practices in outdoor and camping programs for special needs and how to mainstream special needs scouts into everyday outdoor/camping programs....

http://ablescouts.org/2020/11/16/video-ptc-2021/

Britt Flather of the National SND Committee shares the following: Our family attended the Philmont Training Center Special Needs Scouting Conference in 2019. Here are a few highlights from our adve…

An update from the NSNDC Chairman, Warren Wenner, about special needs and disabilities training programs in 2021. I want...
10/20/2020
National SND Training in 2021

An update from the NSNDC Chairman, Warren Wenner, about special needs and disabilities training programs in 2021. I want to clear up some questions I have been asked. The BSA's National Special Needs and Disabilities Committee will offer three courses this coming year. Each course is a different national training course with a different training number. One at the Florida Sea Base is planned for January but may change to a later date. [ 112 more words ]

http://ablescouts.org/2020/10/20/snd-training-2021/

The BSA’s National Special Needs and Disabilities Committee will offer three courses this coming year.

Philmont offers two events next summer highlighting special needs and disabilities in Scouting: the Zia Experience and t...
09/01/2020
Philmont Events in 2021

Philmont offers two events next summer highlighting special needs and disabilities in Scouting: the Zia Experience and the training conference.
http://ablescouts.org/2020/09/01/philmont2021/

Philmont offers two events next summer highlighting special needs and disabilities in Scouting: the Zia Experience and the training conference.

The Summer issue of Abilities Digest contains the following: Adapting Advancement: Joining conferences for new Scouts; s...
08/31/2020
Abilities Digest Late Summer 2020 Issue

The Summer issue of Abilities Digest contains the following: Adapting Advancement: Joining conferences for new Scouts; saying good-bye to board of review anxiety. Enhancing Awareness: The experience of blindness. Adapting Activities: Choosing a unit for a Scout with special needs; Responses when a unit leader rejects a proposed accommodation. Awareness Events: Staffing opportunities for Disabilities Awareness Challenges at the upcoming National Scout Jamboree. Recognizing Abilities: The Special Needs Scouting Service Award. 2021 Philmont summer events. abdig-v07n3Download
http://ablescouts.org/2020/08/31/abdig-v07n3/

Here is the Late Summer 2020 issue of Abilities Digest.

08/07/2020

The national service center for the BSA has had another round of layoffs. There are rumors to the effect that neither the NESA newsletter nor Advancement News will be published. We will continue publishing Abilities Digest and, as far as possible, we will distribute it to our email subscribers.

The Woods Services Award is given annually by the Woods Services and Residential Treatment Center, in Langhorne, Pennsyl...
07/01/2020
The Woods Services Award

The Woods Services Award is given annually by the Woods Services and Residential Treatment Center, in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, to one BSA volunteer each year for exceptional service and leadership in the field of Special Needs Scouting. The Center is a leading advocacy and service organization that provides educational, residential, and vocational services to children and adults with special needs. The award was established in 1978 in memory of Luther Wellington Lord, a residential supervisor for more than 23 years at the Center. [ 270 more words ]
http://ablescouts.org/2020/07/01/woods-services-history/

This is a brief history of the Woods Services Award and includes a complete list of its recipients.

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Hello Deaf Scouters and Allies! We’re getting a couple of teams together! One for ASL videos and one for resources / tools for those with hearing loss. We loved to have you join or you can recommend someone by filling out the G-Form below. Preference will be given to those fluent in ASL and have a hearing loss, although some allies will be an opportunity to join with us. Meetings will be virtually, and collaboration thru videos, Google Drive and email.
With the Deaf post below today, it brings to the fore front the need for ASL videos where ASL is signed correctly and posted on Scouting.org. At the same time there is a huge need for resources, tools and more for those with a hearing loss. I have learned how to wing through and make virtuals work for me in spite of being Deaf. Even went far to chair the Council's Virtual Merit Badges event during COVID when I knew nothing about this technology. Now that is winding down and getting easier. So let's get a couple of Teams together! One for ASL videos and one for resources and tools for those with hearing loss. If you are interested in being on the team or can recommend someone, please fill out the G-Form. Preference will be given to those fluent in ASL and have a hearing loss, although some allies will be an opportunity to join with us. Meetings will be virtually, and collaboration thru videos, Google Drive and email. https://forms.gle/hWzMi3n3JhxYDnqKA
Thankfully BSA has been ahead of the game in while updating their publications to use the correct terms "hearing loss, deaf, Deaf or hard or hearing". Change is coming to state laws so now is a good time to look up the term 'impaired' and understand what is means and what is implied to grasp why this is taking place... New York State became the third state to strike the term "hearing impaired" from state law under legislation signed recently by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. All references in state law will be changed from "hearing impaired" to "deaf or hard of hearing." (Why capitalized 'D' in Deaf? Reference to include one's heritage/ community is shown with through the capitalization of the 'D' in Deaf.)
This year I plan to host an event called Scouting with Disabilities. This is to promote scouting among those with disabilities as well as bring awareness to those without severe disabilities in my district/council. I want to offer unique ways to bring awareness as well as be kind and courteous to the needs with disabilities of those who may come. If you have hosted similar events, I would appreciate all the advice you would care to give. Who are some contacts you would make to assist? What are some activities you would offer?
A good read from a fellow Scouter