Special Needs Scouts
Building Self-Esteem Through Scouting.
Disabilities can sometimes result in experiences of repeated failure and frustration. This cycle of unsuccessful effort can erode self-confidence and result in low self-esteem. Scouting can help raise self-esteem by providing experiences that foster feelings of success and accomplishment. Scout leaders can assist by creating a positive outlook, providing tools and strategies for success, and promoting a caring and supportive environment. These are good principles of communication for all people with disabilities, not just Scouts.
- Help set realistic goals.
- Scout leaders and Scouts should share a common set of expectations.
- Give the Scouts frequent, specific and positive feedback.
- Do not confuse the Scout (“you are good”) with the behavior (“you did that very well”).
- Feedback should acknowledge good effort and should address areas of suggested improvement.
- Accentuate the positive.
- Focus on strengths to help keep motivation levels high.
- Boost enthusiasm and pride by capitalizing on special talents and interests; nothing builds self-esteem like success.
- Remember that frustration is not all bad.
- Allowing Scouts to experience some frustration can be critical to the learning process. Don’t come to the rescue with a “quick fix,” but rather provide support and offer to help explore options.
- It may be hard for a Scout to think of alternative ways to approach a task once frustration has set in. Whenever possible, identify possible repair strategies before beginning a task as a way to decrease anxiety and to promote perseverance.
- Recognize that the group matters.
- Acknowledge a Scout’s important status within the Scouting unit.
- Expect that mistakes will happen.
- Help Scouts to appreciate that everyone makes mistakes. It may help to offer examples to decrease feelings of disappointment.
- Talk about errors and mishaps openly. Try to be objective and to consider the context and setting.
- Explain that trial and error is a valuable part of the learning process.
- Help Scouts strive toward independence.
- Try to encourage independence, particularly with regard to self-help skills and activities for daily living.
- Encourage careful planning, risk taking, and evaluation of consequences. Start with small decisions and provide feedback as an “interested observer.”
|Special Needs Committee|
|Jane Grossman, Vice Chairman
|Steve Gruendler, Commissioner
|Joe Vaughn, Activities/Camping Chairman
|Joyce Williams, Advancement Chairman
|Joe Gentile, Training Chairman
|Julie Monken, Staff Advisor
314-256-3052 | email