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Behavior: Social Skills, Self Esteem

Starting LD youth groups

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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
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Posted Jul 21, 2002 at 9:04:51 AM
Subject: Starting LD youth groups

Hey for those parents who are aprehensive about placing their LD kids in programs like Cub, Brownies or Boy or Girl Scouts: perhaps, trying to start some group based on those lines would be a nice alternative. This way they could have comradership or feel like they belong to a group. This group could be teaching self-defense, laying communication equipment, doing small projects , playing capture the flag, boxing, wrestling, swimming. Also, offer study skills, tutoring, constructing gliders, getting guest speakers, watching dvd or videos on movies or subjects. Also, they could be a sounding board for how to deal with issues in school, play groups etc. Uniforms would be good too, because those really enhance children's sense of belonging and ownership. Uniforms could be organized along military ranks strip here, strip there, bars here for doing a great communication link. Think about it. It just might make the kid's day. Essentially, start seperate group from the non-LD, do not always have to look for their acceptance. You have your own "LD Pride". The groups could eventually number 10,000 strong.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jul 22, 2002 11:53:57 AM

A good reason to stick with Girl Scouts or boy scouts is the insurance and access to training and facilities. there is nothing in Girl Scouts to prevent parents from starting their own troops (single age, multi-age) for LD students and this program gives a lot of support and suggestions and a sense of connecting with a wider world. The program is very flexible (in contrast to boy scouts) and the girls can focus on what ever they want to. I suggest persons look into this vs the incredibly difficult task of starting from scratch. As a recreational professional--there is more to starting something like this than is first apparent.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jul 27, 2002 10:17:44 PM

Yes, this does seem insurmountable. But you wonder if the "Old Boy Network" wants to keep it this way. Why would some of the Boy Scout alumni want any competition from other groups. They arrange to have insurance prems skyrocket. otherwise, some of the attornys sue ridiculously and prevent people from going to form something else other than Boy scouts brcause of legal or insurance roadblocks. What do you all think ? Do we want a LD youth organization too ?

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jul 29, 2002 2:03:58 PM

I don't think the structured program in Boy Scouts is bad--it is just different than Girl Scouts. The two groups have different philosophies and each has their advantages. The Gril Scout program is less "award" oriented--or at least less linear. It is harder to lead such a group. My son is active in Boy Scouts, and there are several kids with LD in his troop. The program is based on developing skills--progressing in those skills, and learning leadership. The program is also adaptable to kids with difficulites in reading and writing--there are ways to adapt the requirements for ranks and merit badges.Many of the LD kids are right along tracking with their peers in earning recognitions. The program actually teaches social skills in an informal way. Since most of the program is "hands on", the kids with LD thrive in this normal peer environment--as least as far as I can see. Again, the parents and the kids can make the troop their own flavor. I don't think anyone in boy scouts is out to get any other program--the biggest problem for boy scouts right now is their inflexible discrimination against gays. maybe the next generation will be able to change that. There are boy scout troops for buddists, there are troops for mormons, there are inner city troops and there are troops out in rural towns. The insurance issue is mostly all insurance is going up for all recreational activities--it is not just the scouts who are hit with that. Actually, both scout groups have a lot of required adult training and regulations that help keep insurance costs down.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jul 31, 2002 9:37:01 PM

I think the point of belonging and acceptance is being missed.

Many LD children (mine included) enjoy scouts and other groups that do not separate them as the "freak" of the group. They are just allowed to blend in with everyone else, unlike the classroom setting they are subjected to all day long where they stand out like a sore thumb because they don't learn like the average percentage of kids do.

Why would you want to segregate these children in possibly the only opportunity that they do not have to be identified as being different.

The reason that there are different faith-based groups in scouting is because Cub and Boy scouting is a faith-based organization. Distinguishing between the different faiths is done when the church or synagogue, etc sponsor the Pack or the Troop and they earn religious medals this way as well. It is not meant as a segregation tool.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Aug 01, 2002 9:57:51 PM

I agree. My NLD son did very well in Cub Scouts, crossing over with his Arrow of Light award, with all the same NT Cubs he started with. He is now a member of a large Boy Scout troop that is home to several boys with disabilities as well as many who don't.

Because of the motor and visual-spatial difficulties that are part of NLD, we did make sure that the leaders were aware of his disability. But he is very much an accepted and respected member of the troop, and always among the first of the younger scouts to volunteer to pitch in when work needs to be done. I think it is a wonderful experience for him.

Karen

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Posted:Aug 02, 2002 9:33:27 AM

I have thought of cub scouts for my son too. We have had mixed luck with girl scouts for my daughter though. She was in it for five years and I would say only one year was a really good experience. For my son, with academic problems, the payoff would have to be more than something to do. Any ideas on how to find a really good troop?

Beth

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Anonymous
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Posted:Aug 02, 2002 6:45:18 PM

Cub and Boy Scouts are VERY different from Girl Scouts.

Cub Scouts is family-oriented. Almost everything is done as a family which makes it very easy to help guide your son through the experiences as well as control situations.

The first step is to find your local Pack, it is usually either sponsored through a church or school in your neighborhood and this is called holding the charter. That means they take responsibility for the Pack.

The Pack is a collection of all of the Dens. The boys are broken down by ages and put in their Dens (up to 10 boys per Den usually) which meet independently anywhere from once a month to once a week. They work on their badges, merits, awards,etc . Now these boys stay together till they are done with Cub Scouts and the same leader moves along with them; from beginning to end, so they really get to know the boys as individuals.

This is the age breakdown: 1st grade is Tiger Cubs, 2nd grade they start as Bobcats (every boy that enters scouts after 1st grade start at Bobcat which teaches them the basics and scout safety) and become Bears after the quick Bobcat course, 3rd grade they are Wolves and 4th grade they become Webelos. Webelos is a 15 month stretch so they finish up mid-way through 5th grade and cross over to Boy Scouts then.

Once a month all of the Dens get together for a Pack activity, sometimes a trip, camping, planned event, the possibilities are endless. The point of Pack meetings though is you do not just drop off your son, the whole family is involved. At Pack events they hand out their earned awards too and make a big deal out of it. The boys feel really special in front of the whole crowd.

Cub Scouts prepares them for Boy Scouts. Once they are in Boy Scouts they go to everything independently, but by this time the comraderie and team effort has been well established. It is usually the same group of boys who go all the way through so they know each other.

All Leaders are trained and the topics of disabled children is part of the training. The scout program is based on personal achievement as well as working effectively as a unit.

My husband is our Cubmaster (the big cheese) and I am the Asst. Cubmaster, so of course we are very aware of others with disabilities and do not tolerate any behavior that would make others feel like they do not belong. I'm sure you will find many parents of LD kids you know are involved in scouts.

Anyway, I cannot say enough good things about Cub Scouts. It has done wonders for our boys and our family. It is all about belonging (why we insist on wearing the uniform). We are all one unit and everyone is to feel like they belong. If you are interested ask your school who the local Pack contact person is then visit a Pack meeting. I do not think you will be disappointed.

As I type this, our Pack is leaving for their annual outdoor adventure weekend (all family members invited, but I have to work, . . . sigh). They will fish, hike, canoe, swim, target shooting and all that great boy stuff. They just love it!!!!!

Check it out!!!!!

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Anonymous
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Posted:Aug 02, 2002 8:09:24 PM

Jorge,
My daughter was LD and was never segregated from the rest of her peers. She was not judged by them due to LD but by who she was. The world after high school is not segregated, how would these children exist if they didn't know how to get along with everyone, even those not like them?

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Anonymous
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Posted:Aug 02, 2002 10:44:28 PM

Sir:

She can learn when she gets older to exist with people different from her. While LD kids are growing up, it would be nice for them to have some comradership in their school or social organization. The non LD people will never give LD people the respect or full loyalty of popularity. Now, an example: A Minor Consideration was founded by a former child actor to serve as a social group for ex-child actors who felt the non actor world did not understand the issues they delt with. This provides them with a support group of comrades. A LD youth group would do the same. The LD kid would not feel isolated at school for instance if there was a group to back them up. Take it and push back the bullies. Strike hard and you will gain respect.

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Posted:Aug 03, 2002 10:49:50 AM

I'm sorry, but this mentality only fosters tense and often times hateful relations.

Now, I would agree to separating children in school by abilities for the purpose of educating ALL individually and appropriately. Many schools believe we should make up a classroom by sprinkling a little bit of every ability in each classroom.

So, you have a range of gifted to LD and sometimes severely disabled students all in the same room. Each level requires a different amount of work, accomodations, assistance, modifications and different levels of support required for all of them complete the same assignment.

How does a teacher effective teach all of these children? It is not humanly possible. But it is perfectly acceptable when we say that the gifted need their own supplementary education during the school day because their needs are not being met in the general classroom. What about all of the other kids in those classrooms?

My point is, separating children for education purposes to ensure that the proper delivery, pace and modifications to their abilities are being provided is acceptable to me. And who would have to know?

When you put a moderately dyslexic child in a classroom with a gifted cluster, that kid is going to stick out like a sore thumb unless he is gifted also. Separate them by ability and everyone gets what they need and no one's inabilities become blatently obvious.

But creating groups to avoid or fight back from persecution only brings persecution especially when you identify your "group" as the LD group. I think you would only be asking to be picked on.

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Posted:Aug 03, 2002 1:56:03 PM

That would not be true... You might have some trouble, but at least you are not alone... The whole thing in this idea is comradership, belonging to a group who likes and respects you. Alot of people do not like a bunch of football players, but do they go and pick on em if there are twelve guys together ?/? No! They get thir head mashed like pizza.

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Posted:Aug 03, 2002 2:04:10 PM

Thank you for the useful information. I honestly was not that familiar with boy scouts because I grew up with only sisters, all of whom were in girl scouts.
It does sound like a very different organization.

My son is going into fourth grade and has never been involved. Do you think it is too late?

Beth

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Posted:Aug 03, 2002 7:07:54 PM

there's something to be said for safety in numbers -- but most LD youth I know would not want to be caught *dead* in an "LD" group. This is also an issue in colleges, where people often try to start them -- to so many people, LD is something to overcome and hide if you can't do that. A little LD Pride would help (www.ldpride.net)

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Posted:Aug 03, 2002 9:45:53 PM

Oh, absolutely not too late!!! He would be introduced to an already established Den (which means they should be running smoothly), do his basics first to get his Bobcat advancement and then he can start working on his Webelos merits. He'll have a year and a half to get his feet wet and see if he wants to go on to Boy Scouts.

The great thing about Cub Scouts is the fact that kids who like to work as individuals can go crazy earning all of their merits and awards; a lot of personal achievement in tons of areas of interest. Then he would do his activities with his Den which works on teamwork and socialization and then the family gets to do things together and the big bonus is that you get to be there to make sure things work out right for him. So it really fits every kind of kid.

Much, much different from Girl Scouts as you can see. I can honestly say that it has only been a positive experience for my two boys and they love everything about it.

If you decide to go ahead with it, just find out who the Cubmaster is and ask if you could attend a Pack meeting and see if it lights him up before you decide to take the plunge. Many times the area recruiter comes around to the schools at the beginning of the year and will pass out information.

Many Packs have websites where you can go in and look at the things they are doing, just to give you an example. At first it seems overwhelming, but the truth is that there is just soooo much that they can do that it seems like too much. But its never boring and always rewarding!!!

Good luck to you. If you need help finding your contact person or have any questions, just e-mail me and I'll help you any way I can.

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Posted:Aug 03, 2002 11:20:21 PM

Sue:

You are right, the kids may not want to be caught dead with an LD group. However, they need to realize the reality in the world.... They are idealistic now, at 17, 18, 19 or 20... People do not change. They like to hang with their own group. Ex- child actors, Blacks, Deaf people etc. They all like to hang with someone in common with them. LD people should be no diffrent.... We need to speak as one voice and demand respect from government and society at large about our self respect. LD is a reality ! LD never goes away or dissapears regardless what the Dr. tells you. So, I think an LD social or youth or adult self-defense force is the way to go or an alternative to trying to hope the non-LD world will invite you into their tent. It may never happen.... So make the best of it.

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Posted:Aug 04, 2002 1:15:14 PM

Just one more question, which I don't know if you can help me sort out, or not.. We are Catholic and my two other kids attend parochial school. I know some of the people involved with the troop there from Church, alhtough not extremely well. These kids would go to the parochial school there as well, where my son does not go because of his LD issues. I know there are troops connected to his public school as well. The public school there is very large--with 7 or 8 classes for each grade so he knows a limited number of the total number of kids, if you know what I mean. He has attended summer camp at the parochial school (siblings can go) for a few weeks for the past two summers and so knows some kids--but who knows whether they are in cub scouts.

I guess I like the idea of the church related troop because our family is involved there. On the other hand, he would be an outsider since he doesn't attend school there.

Any thoughts?

Beth

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Posted:Aug 07, 2002 9:18:05 PM

Hi Beth, hope you got my response to your last question about scouts. I realized after I sent it that it must have gone to your e-mail address instead of posting on the board here.

If you didn't please let me know and I'll post it here.

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Posted:Aug 08, 2002 4:01:35 PM

No, I didn't get it!! I did look up Cub Scouts on the web and got my son to agree to it. The idea of camping persuaded him!!

Leaning towards school based troop but would be interested in your thoughts.

Beth

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Posted:Aug 10, 2002 9:24:10 PM

I hated Girl Scouts when I was a kid too, so I sympathize with your daughter.<g> I was reluctant to do the Boy Scout thing for just that reason. I didn't want to get dragged into doing something as an adult that I hadn't liked as a kid. But my husband is an Eagle Scout (I was told that you NEVER say "was" an Eagle Scout<g>) and because of that, both my guys wanted to do it too. The older one really loves it. The younger one will go if Daddy takes him, but doesn't want to be "alone" (with the other kids and leaders).

As far as finding a good group is concerned, I guess we just got lucky in terms of our Den Leaders. We never did go to pack meetings... We have since found out that not all packs are like ours, but the meetings were sheer chaos. The KIDS came home saying they had headaches th couple of time we tried it! But the Dens only have between 5-8 kids, and they meet at the leaders' homes, so it's much more controlled. Ask around, and see who is happy with their Den leaders.

Picking a Boy Scout troop is much easier. They have all kinds of activities in the fall, as the Cubs get ready to cross over, and invite the younger boys to participate. Robbie went to over nights with two troops and troop meeting of three before he decided which troop he wanted to join.

The one he picked is the biggest in town, but for good reason. IMO, it's the best run. The leaders are fabulous at guiding the boys to run the troop themslves. It's a really active troop with lots of activities, and at least one camp-out per month. There was one that he visited that was a zoo, and a third that was small and quiet, but the kids were clearly not big on the out-doorsy stuff, which is important to Robbie.

Karen

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Posted:Aug 10, 2002 9:40:38 PM

It really doesn't matter that much what organization sponsors the troop. All boys are welcome in all of them that I know of. We are members of the Congregational Church, which sponsors a pack, and the Catholic Church across the street sponsors another pack. The Synagogue at the other end of town sponsors a 3rd, and I believe that there are one or two others. When they have their recruitment/sign-up night in the fall, it is for all the packs in town. Unless you specifically request a particular troop and/or den, they usually try to assign kids to a group that is fairly close to them geographically, just so there's a better chance that the kids will get to know each other better. Remember, the boys are often together for years, even though classmates often change drastically from year to year.

While both my boys were in the pack sponsored by our church, it was simply because they were assigned there... we didn't even know enough to ask about options. Of the 4 boys who crossed over with Robbie, one has decided not to go on to Boy Scouts, one chose a troop based at the Episcopal Church (the quiet group I mentioned) and Robbie and the other two joined the Catholic Church troop. None went on to our church's troop. It really doesn't matter much.

There are religious badges the boys can do, both as Cubs and as Boy Scouts. But those are done privately, with the religious leaders of the boy's own church, not as a group. Our town has a "Boy Scout Sunday", where the boys all go to their own church (which ever one it is) in uniform. They are the greeters, ushers, candle lighters, etc. for that service. But again, they go to their own church on that day, not to the church that happens to sponsor their pack or troop.

Karen

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