Scouts with DisAbilities

Scouting helps by giving Scouts with disabilities an opportunity to prove to themselves and to others that they can do things- and difficult things too- for themselves." Lord Baden-Powell

The Orion District is committed to making Scouting accessible and enjoyable to all regardless of their abilities. As part of this commitment,  Orion District is proud to have established the very first district-level Scouting with Special Needs Focus Group.  The primary responsibility of the group is to bring the excellent programs and groups already in place at SHAC, along with specific experience and guidance straight to our units, leaders and families.  This helps to ensure our Scouts have a wonderful experience and progress through the program just as the program has been designed.

The group meets at each Orion District Roundtable.  During each meeting the group will review the past month and any unit needs, changes in the BSA program guidelines for Scouting with Special Needs that have been proposed and also plan for any assistance that has been requested by any Orion District unit.  As of now we are blessed to have the following members volunteer their support and guidance to the group:

Dave Weaver - Focus Group Director 
Lani Simonton
Steve Guettler
Lynda Worlow

The focus group is always in need of volunteers to assist and provide guidance and support, as well as lend professional and leadership experience in assisting these Scouts.  Any unit seeing assistance should reach out for guidance with implementing the Scouting program for a new Scout with a disability or working with a family to help explain the program a how their Scout can thrive under the program.  If you have any questions regarding the group or SHAC's Committee please feel free to reach out to any of the following:

Dave Weaver (Orion District Focus Group Lead)
Janet Kelly (SHAC Disabilities Awareness Committee Chair)
Alyssa Hightower (SHAC Disabilities Awareness Committee Vice Chair)
Pam White (SHAC Disabilities Awareness Committee Training Coordinator)

Since its founding in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has included fully participating members with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. The BSA's policy is to treat members with disabilities as much like other members as possible. It has been traditional, however, to make some accommodations in advancement if absolutely necessary. By adapting the environment and/or our instruction methods, most Scouts with disabilities can be successful in Scouting.

The basic premise of Scouting for youth with disabilities is full participation. Youth with disabilities can be treated and respected like every other member of their unit. They want to participate like other youth - and Scouting provides that opportunity.

An individual is considered to have a disability if he or she:

  • has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities- seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, learning, caring for oneself, and working,
  • has a record of such an impairment, or
  • is regarded as having such an impairment.



Every unit is different, and every Scout with special needs has a uniqueness all his or her own. If a problem arises, parents and adult leaders can usually handle it themselves; however, knowledgeable Scouters may offer additional solutions and valuable perspectives. The council Disabilities Awareness Committee is also available to provide training and to be a resource to help resolve challenges.