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Redwood Empire Scouting Serves Special Needs Youth Too!

Right here in our Council there was a seventeen year old who wanted to be an Eagle Scout. He was only at Second Class Rank and had earned many merit badges. The issue was that he has a valid medical special need that was recognized by his parents, his attending physician, and his high school. His troop leaders may not have been aware of the provisions in the BSA for Special Needs youth and they let him remain at the Second Class Rank for some time..

This example is offered to bring awareness to remind Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Venturing leaders that the BSA wants to serve youth with special needs and there are provisions in Section 10 of the BSA Guide to Advancement (GTA). See the specific provisions in the GTA but as an overview:

  • Cubmasters and Committees may jointly determine appropriate substitutions that are consistent with the Cub Scout showing he can "do his best".
  • The Council Advancement Committee can approve a substitution requirement for Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class ranks for disabled Scouts (see GTA 10.2.2.2 for documentation requirements), and may qualifying substitute required merit badges for Eagle Rank based on a Scout's documented disability.
  • The Council Advancement Committee can approve a registration beyond age of eligibility for youth members documented as having disabilities of a cognitive or mental nature such that they essentially function at a lower age level.

The story of our local Scout continues happily. He received approval to substitute one requirement for First Class Rank and the council advancement committee gave approval for the Scout to remain registered as a youth member beyond age 18. Hopefully he will someday reach his goal of being an Eagle Scout in the Redwood Empire Council.

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