When you think about building a social network for your son or daughter, donít overlook the benefits of having your child join the Boy Scouts of America. Did you know that Boy Scouts are not just for boys? Girls can join Venture Crews. What are some of the attributes of a troop or crew that will work for kids with ADD/ADHD? Just how does a caring adult go about finding a Boy Scout troop or Venture Crew that suits a kid with Attention Deficit Disorder?
Adult leaders who have a lot of experience with children who have Attention Deficit Disorder can be a wonderful find. If you donít come across a troop or crew with leaders who know what to expect with a student who has ADD/ADHD, locate one where the leaders are willing to be educated. For kids to have a positive experience, leaders need to know how to help the child manage his or her symptoms. They should understand how to keep an adventurous child safe in challenging environments. Leaders need to be positive, consistent and willing to help all boys and girls achieve. They need to provide caring and moral leadership as they lead by example.
In addition to caring leaders who want all children to succeed, the traditional troop should be ďboy led.Ē The Scouts should plan their program to suit their interests. Programming should be interesting and there must be enough adults to offer guidance and support as the Scouts develop their leadership skills. Leadership is only one of the skill areas that Scouts develop. They can pursue their particular interests and explore beyond their everyday world by working through information and projects in the merit badges. Merit badge counselors, merit badge forums, and summer camps provide the vehicle for Scouts to progress through the Scouting program. Monthly camping experiences should be available in all kinds of weather!
A Venture Crew is a bit different from a traditional troop. Both boys and girls, from the ages of 14 (or 13 if the child has completed 8th grade) to the twenty-first birthday, can belong to a challenging Venture Crew. These Venture Crews focus on ethical behavior, high adventure, and giving service to others. This spotlight on high adventure can certainly attract a child with Attention Deficit Disorder!
The best way to find a troop or crew that suits your child who has ADD/ADHD is to ask kids who are involved in Scouting. Find out what they love about their group. Do they respect the adults? If they do, this means that the adults show respect for the kids. Is there just a small, elite group who is always able to do advancement activities, or are all of the kids included in all of the programming and advancement? Do kids really run the group with adult advisors? Visit a lot of troops and crews with your son or daughter. Feel the groupsí levels of energy. What is the feeling-tone like? Watch interactions between kids and adults. How do the Scouts treat each other? This last item is of utmost importance. Boy Scout and Venture groups have personalities, too. If the Scouts donít treat each other well, stay away from that troop or crew. You donít want your son or daughter to be bullied or to have a negative experience.
Joining a Boy Scout troop or Venture Crew can be a wonderful experience. Your child can develop deep relationships with peers and other adults. Skills can be learned or enhanced. Independence can be fostered. A well-chosen troop or crew can add to your childís natural social support network and social skills.
Scouting usually includes summer camp. For some kids, this is their first time away from home. Here's a book that parents and their camp bound kids can share. The book tells all about what parents and kids need to know about the summer camp experience.
The Summer Camp Handbook: Everything You Need to Find, Choose and Get Ready for Overnight Camp-and Skip the Homesickness
Our youngest son is an Eagle Scout, and it took us several tries to find the right troop for him. His life was enriched by his Scouting adventures and opportunities to provide leadership for his troop. Do you know what it takes to become an Eagle Scout? This book provides insight about the planning and hard work that it takes for a young man to earn the Eagle.
Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts