Special Needs

Youth with physical disabilities and youth and adults with developmental or cognitive challenges can be members of the Boy Scouts of America. Many of these scouts may take more time to satisfy the rank requirements, but can do so with accommodations when give the proper support and encouragement. Others may need specific accommodations, including “alternative requirements” and the opportunity to register beyond the age of eligibility, as outlined in Section 10 of the Guide to Advancement. Section 10 outlines the BSA guidelines and local resources to assist with questions regarding advancement for these members.

To learn more about advancement for scouts with disabilities and the process for establishing alternative requirements or registering beyond the age of eligibility, parents and unit leaders should contact their District Advisor for Special Needs Advancement (below), Mary Lynne Capen or Michael Merritt of the Council Advancement Committee:

District Advisor for Special Needs Advancement
Black River- Michelle DiSanza (Cell) 973-418-5379, [email protected]
Fishawack- Kris Hansen (Home) 973-906-6688, [email protected]
Munsee- Martha Kamichoff (Cell) 732-827-2883, [email protected]
Raritan Valley- Kimberly Schmalenberger (Cell) 732-404-0552, [email protected]
Sussex- Ed Blevins (Home) 973-271-7984, (Cell) 908-246-0553, [email protected]
Watchung Mountain- Christine O’Brien 908-612-3119, [email protected]

Council Advancement Committee Member at Large for Special Needs and Disabilities
Mary Lynne Capen (201) 230-4897 [email protected]

Council Advancement Committee Chairman
Bruce Benson- (973) 538-8325,  [email protected]

Important links for Scouts with Disabilities, Special Needs or severe unforeseen circumstances:

Abilities Digest – A quarterly newsletter which addresses topics related to Scouts with special needs, new leader helps and articles that highlight Scouts with special needs in action! Send an e-mail to subscribe to: [email protected],org.  And link here to archives of previous issues.

Application for Alternative Eagle Scout Rank Merit Badges, No. 512-730 If a Scout cannot complete a required Eagle merit badge due to a permanent disability or special need. Please submit completed documents and attachments to your District Advancement Chair to begin the approval process. http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/512-730.pdf

Book share in Scouting Finding publications for Scouts with impaired hearing or vision. Accessible Scout materials all in one place! http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/BKS-Scout.pdf

Disabilities Awareness “landing page”– Includes links to most items on this page, as well as the Abilities Digest archive, the Best Practices compendium and the FAQs – http://scouting.org/disabilitiesawareness.aspx.

Guide to Advancement, No. 33088 – Complete guide for all advancement policies and procedures. – http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33088.pdf Section 10, pg 76-80, address special needs.

Individual Scout Advancement Plan, No. 512-936 – Form that leaders and parents can use to map out a Scouts advancement plan or formally request a change in requirements due to a disability or special need. – http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/512-936_WB.pdf

Introduction to Working with Scouts with Special Needs and DisABILITIES, No. 510-071– Helpful information and suggestions when dealing with a Scout with special needs or disabilities. – http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/510-071.pdf

Information Sheet – An overview of Scouting with special needs. http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/SpecialNeedsInformationSheet.pdf

PowerPoint presentation – Advancement for Scouts with special needs – could be presented to a group. Advancement_for_Special_Needs 3162020

Request for Extension of Time to Earn Eagle Scout Rank, No. 512-077 – Request is for a short period of time to complete an Eagle project due to a permanent disability, special need or unforeseen serious circumstance. Reference to GTA Section, to differentiate extension from RBAE and GTA Section 10. Note the conditions in http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/512-077.pdf

Request for Registration Beyond the Age of Eligibility, (RBAE), No. 512-935 – Request is for an infinite amount of time to continue as a registered youth, due to a severe permanent disability or special need. See request for extension of time above. http://www.scouting.org/filestore/doc/512-935.doc

Scouting for Youth with Disabilities Manual, No. 34059 – Helpful information and suggestions when working with a Scout with special needs or disabilities. http://www.scouting.org/filestore/commissioner/pdf/34059.pdf

Special Needs Scouting Service Award – Recognition to adult volunteers and professional scouters who serve the community of members with disabilities/special needs of the Scouting movement.  https://www.scouting.org/awards/awards-central/special-needs/

Torch of Gold Award, No. 512-845 – To recognize individuals who have provided outstanding service in the area of Scouts with special needs. Award given once per year at local council level. http://www.scouting.org/Home/Awards_Central/TorchofGold.aspx

Woods Service Award BSA Nomination Form, No. 512-258 – Application to nominate a Scouter who has devoted countless hours to help Scouts with special needs or disabilities. Award given once per year at national level. – http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/512-258.pdf

Updated 3/16/20.