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B.S.A. TROOP 737
Dave Robinson, Scoutmaster
P. O. Box 673
Monmouth, OR 97361
United States

SCOUTING          IS          FOR          EVERYONE!!

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Cascade Pacific Council
Willamette District
Boy Scout Troop 737
Cornerstone Church of God

The Cornerstone Church of God is located on the very corner of 7th. & "E" streets in Independence, OR. We meet in the Fellowship Hall. Enter the building using the "E" street entrance (south side of the building), through double doors to the right.

Every Thursday evening from 7:00pm--8:30pm.

Second Tuesday of each month.

Charter Organization Representative/Committee Chairman
Roy Zirpoli (503)606-9447, Pager: (503) 370-3487

Dave Robinson
Home Phone: (503)838-5364
Voice Mail Pager(503)375-8002

Troop 737 was organized and chartered by the Cornerstone Church of God, affiliated with the Church of God of Cleveland, TN, as an outreach ministry to the youth of Independence and Monmouth, OR. Th Troop began with a "special needs" designation; a Scout Troop specializing in an integrated program for boys with diagnosed disa-bilities. As an "integrated" troop, boys without disabilities are recruited as well as those with disabilities, and together they make up Troop 737. At present (9-30-98) we have 24 enrolled Scouts of which 11 have diagnosed disabilities* and of the 10 adult leaders, four have disabilities*.

NOTE FOR ASTERISK (*): (These terms are used here to clarify the term "special needs". It is my opinion that every individual has a special need. However, many of us have 'diagnosed disabilities,' meaning, a physician or medical authority has attached a label to a special need that a person may have. For example: ADHD, ADD, MR/DD, Schizophrenia,etc. Others may have a 'disability,'for example, diabetes, amputation(s), high blood pressure, blindness, emotional disturbance, phobia(s), etc. In this writers opinion, I have special needs--partial denture, eye-glasses for reading, medication to control blood pressure, etc. I can't function properly without medication or prosthesis (glasses) for these ailments.)

Scouting today is much different than what it was when I was a Scout in the '60's! I don't recall ever meeting anyone at Camp-O-Ree or at a Jamboree that had a disability. Today, however, I have met numerous Scouts and Scouters alike with disabilities!

This change is is HONORABLE.....and it is TIMELY! Scouting is adventure! Scouting is challenging and it demands committment. In todays society, our youth need adventure to keep them away from gang violence, they need a challenge that tests their limitations and demands their best.

For the person with a disability, it is none the less important. Scouting provides an avenue for adventure through different age/grade levels of rank, numerous physical feats, and mental challenges. Hiking, camping, piloting a canoe, sailing a boat, swimming, fishing, backpacking, mountain climbing, rapelling, snorkelling, etc., etc. provide limitless opportunity for individual achievement.

Scouting for those with "disabilities" has come to a new horizon. The emphasis today is on personal ABILITIES, and not on ones "dis" ability. Recently I saw a sign that read, "disABILITIES accommodated here!" How refreshing! You had to look to see the prefix "dis," for the word "ABILITIES" was written three times larger than the prefix! Scouting has taken this same approach. Every boy is accepted based upon his own ability and merit. If for some physical, mental, or emotional reason he hits a barrier, that "barrier" can be modified so he can cross over it....himself!

With the new Modified Requirements for Advancement, age is no longer a barrier. Several Scouts in my Troop are 18 years old. Usually the cut-off age for Boy Scouts. With a signed statement from a medical professional, these same Scouts with disabilities can now stay with their friends indefinetly! I heard awhile back that a Scout in Anchorage, Alaska, 45 years old, received his Eagle Rank!!! FANTASTIC!!

My goal in creating this website is to create a RESOURCE BANK for Scouts and Scouters. How your Scout Troop handled a certain situation to include a Scout or Scouts with disabilities. How you modified a Merit Badge requirement so a Scout could finally get his patch. Questions you might have. Knowledge you have gleaned from years of experience in working with individuals with "special needs."




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A Little About Troop 737....

Boy Scout Troop 737, of Independence, OR was chartered by the Church of God in December of 1997. The first Troop Meeting was held Jan. 22, 1998. Charter members consisted of nine Scouts and seven Scouters. Since January, the troop has grown to 22 regestered Scouts of which 13 attend regularly. Of these 13 boys, eight have diagnosed disabilities. three of the eight Troop Committee Members have disabilities as well.

Where most Scout Troops have several experienced Scouts/Scouters, we began with less than 10 years accumulative experience!

A Little Bit about Scoutmaster Dave Robinson......

My Scouting experience began in the 60's and took me to the rank of Star Scout. I also held the offices of Quartermaster and later was an Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. The greatest experience was becoming an Ordeal member of the Order of the Arrow. Due to a move, I dropped out of Scouting. Later in life I was a Cub Master. Since rejoining eight months ago, I have taken every possible training opportunity available in our Council. This included BSA Fundamentals and also Woodbadge. As of March 1998, I became the Special Needs Commissioner for the Willamette District of the Cascade Pacific Council Boy Scouts of America, Portland, Oregon.


September 23, 1998

Recently I was approached by a non-profit organization that desired to start a Scout troop. They provide community based residential group homes for adult individuals with mental and physical disa-bilities. A couple of their clients are very high functioning and enjoy camping. They have their own vehicle and often take off to go camping, but in the meantime manage to get themselves lost.....repeatedly. They also dress out in full fatigues. The suggestion came to them to look into a Scouting program.

I was approached by my District Scout Executive and asked if I would contact this group and see if we could assist them. Sure enough, they were excited and wanted to start a Scout troop! It was a toss-up between an Explorer-Venture program or a Scouting program. They went with both! One, so they could earn merit badges, the other so they can have an age-appropriate program. They are currently establishing their Troop Committee and getting the minimum membership to charter.

A few days later, I am approached about another organization in the same field desiring to do the same thing! They also have a 68 year old man that is excited about becoming a Scout. I have known this gentleman, and I mean a real gentleman, for almost eight years. He is a real "kick-in-the-pants!" No one believes he is 68, but he is!

He attended one of our Troop meetings and decided he wanted to join. As of this date, he has faithfully attended and participated in a short-term camp. Do to the age-appropriate element, I have made him an Assistant Scoutmaster.

NOW! You might ask, "How can you take someone with mental disa-bilities and put him in charge of young boys?" Competency is the question. Well, I pondered this question for almost a week. I then decided, to still make him an Assistant Scoutmaster. I will call this gentleman "Lee."

"Lee" is a very mild tempered person, very jovial, high functioning, but definitely developmentally disabled. This in no way diminishes his value as a person. He deserves to be treated with respect and given an opportunity, with the least amount of ridicule, to be a leader. His age does not in itself make him "quaified" to lead. And neither does his mental handicap take away from his responsibility to lead with accountability.

THE SOLUTION I arrived at may seem rediculous to some. (I would like your opinion). "Lee" will be assisted by another Adult Leader--Scouter, at all times. He will not be left solely in charge of a group, patrol, etc. without the assistance of another Scouter. YES! Insurance Liability and all that stuff has to be considered. But why say "no" to a man of his caliber, a "grandfather" figure, simply because of a disability?

Age appropriateness is something that I feel is necessary. DIGNITY of the individual is too. Fifty percent of my Scouts have disabilities. Boys are to lead the Troop. If "Lee" were a boy, he would be given the opportunity to lead! Patrol Leader, Assistant Patrol Leader, Quartermaster....whatever! Why not Assistant Scoutmaster? He is an adult in a troop designated in its Charter as a "Special Needs" troop.

PLEASE...SHARE YOUR COMMENTS! EMAIL ME ( and let's discuss this a little more in detail. I might even publish your statements if you so desire!

October 27, 1998

I have had several responses to this site, and I am VERY excited! I am still working on it to make it better.

A bit of news.......

I have been recently appoached by an OA Advisor that has had an interest in taking a Special Needs Troop to the National Jamboree in 2001!! This is going to be a major undertaking, but with the help of capable leaders, it will happen! This will be a Troop made up of boys with disabilities and Scouters that are trained in dealing with these issues. If you have any input, or simply have a comment, please EMail me at the above address.

WELCOME TO TROOP 110,Mt.Jefferson District, Charter Organization: Mt. Angel Training Center, Mt. Angel, Oregon!! Another troop for individuals with disabilities! Newly chartered this month. We are presently working with another organization to get a troop started in West Salem, Oregon.


In Response to Your Email!

Just the other day I received an Email from a fellow Scoutmaster in Novato California. Excerpts from the letter follow:

"Dave: I found your website very refreshing, an honest vignette of how Scouting can work well for ALL. ...... Keep up the GREAT work on your website....we have a proposed alternate requirement for a scout for the map and compass requirements before us now. The specific steps outlined in the Scoutmaster's Guide to Working With Scouts With Disabilities have been followed so far. Since the alternate requirements are tailored to the boy's specific ability/disability they may not be universally applicable. Here they are:

"Using a compass: Second Class; Requirements 1a and 1b (insofar as it requires the use of a compass); First Class; Requirements 1 (insofar as it requires understanding degrees on a compass) and 2. The Scout's inability to comprehend and deal with complex numbers makes it impossible for him to use a compass, although he understands the basic directions, N, S, W, E, has drawn a map, and taken many hikes.

Suggested Alternatives: (1) Assist your patrol or troop on planning a hike and participate on the hike; and (2) actively participate in an outing with your troop or patrol where the use of a map and compass is required, and assist in the use of the compass and map."

The above alternatives have been recommended to the Council Advancement Committee by the Troop for approval. In view of the boy's abilities, the alternative requirements appear to challenge the scout commensurate with his abilities, vis a vis the content of the official requirements. I highly suspect that the committee will concur."

The italics are mine, as is the bold lettering. These are used to emphasize the point that ANY modification to the standard requirements for advancement "MUST CHALLENGE THE SCOUT COMMENSURATE WITH HIS ABILITIES!" Modifications are to adapt the letter and spirit of the requirement so that a Scout can accomplish the task as closely as possible to the letter and spirit of the written requirement. This is to say that any modification MUST CHALLENGE the Scout, but not be so stringent so as to discourage him to the point of quitting. To "water down" any advancement requirement "cheapens" the experience; however, to make a requirement match the physical, mental, and emotional abilities of the Scout makes it a valuable and treasured achievement.

Another Scoutmaster wrote the following:

"Dave: I read with "special" interest your web page for Troop 737. I am (a) Freehold, NJ. (Our) Troop started meeting last month with six Scouts all of whom are classified with special needs. Four of the Scouts crossed over as Webelos from ... a special needs pack started in 1993... with six Cub Scouts and now have 18 active Cubs, all with special needs.

"The troop is looking for ideas for its "outing" program. Our Scouts range from one who is high functioning with ADHA to two Scouts with Cerebral Palsy with limited mobility. We are very much interested in the kinds of activities you do at meetings and in the outdoors.

Secondly, we would like to understand what you are doing about modifications to the advancement program for you Scouts. We have read the advancement guidelines and talked to our council staff and would appreciate any suggestions you can offer....Thank you in advance for any insights you can offer..."

A few suggestions for Scouters in general:

Make use of your local State Parks and Recreations Department. They usually publish information on all the State Parks within your area. They should have separate literature on wheelchair accessible camping and recreational sites. This is required by the new Federal ADA requirements.

Check with your local council. They too should have information on which Scout camps meet the accessibility requirements of the ADA. Visitor Information Centers in the area that you plan on visiting usually have literature on sightseeing attractions, museums, etc. that are ADA compliant.

Plan all your outdoor activities at least three months in advance so that you have time to arrange for adaptations to meet the needs of your Scouts.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) often have camping sites that are NOT ADA compliant.

The U. S. Forest Service has numerous camping and recreational facilities that are ADA compliant.

Include at least one member on your Troop Committee that is assigned as a "Special Needs Advisor." This should be someone that is a professional in the field of working with individuals with disabilities, or a person that has lived with a impairment/disability themselves, or has a family member that has a disability.

Include boys with disabilities as Junior Leaders. (Our first Sr. Patrol Leader had ADD and did an excellent job!)

Before you take your Troop on a hike or camping, visit the place ahead of time to see if it is a suitable location for your activity. If adaptive equipment is necessary, this will give you time to arrange for it, build it, or find another location.

If you have any suggestions for Modification Requirements for advancement or for Merit Badges, please Email us and we will include your replies on this web page.

Recently we have gone to using the National BSA publications, "Boy Scout Meeting Kits For Troop Leaders." These offer numerous suggestions, ideas, etc. for several Troop meetings. These are easily adaptable to the needs of your Scouts. I find them to be well prepared and easier to use than the Woods Wisdom materials. The subjects vary; Citizenship, First Aid, Community Living, etc.

Some of our Scouts have great difficulty in meeting Merit Badge requirements. Many of these require a lot of work. With ADD and ADHD it is often difficult to keep their attention long enough to cover the necessary materials. Keep your sessions short. Deal with one aspect of a requirement at a time. Be creative, and make it fun.

For example, on a recent camping trip we made rope. I have tried numerous times to get the boys interested in pioneering skills. It was nearly impossible. However, with the new rope we made we practiced knot tying. After that, we used the new rope to build a tripod catapult as a lashing project. They also played the "Hot Isotope Carry" game from the Woods Wisdom notebook. We were able to keep their attention simply because there was a variety of activities that were fun, and used the product of their own hands. The fact that they had made the rope themselves held their attention for the whole day!



  • "Working With Scouts With Disabilities" is an excellent site!

  • B.S.A. Troop 799 has an excellent web page!

  • Center for Integrated Education and Community

    Center for Integrated Education and Community
  • Images Into The Mind, Dr. Daniel G. Amen, MD

    Images Into The Mind

    An ADHD specialist


  • Portland Metro CH.A.D.D.

    (Non-profit organization for Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders)

    Portland Metro CH.A.D.D.