The motto for Cub Scouts is “Do my best”. That motto does not change no matter which pack a boy is in.
One Cub Scout Troop in the Naperville area embraces the idea that all children, especially those with disabilities can benefit from what scouting offers.
The eight boys in Cub Scout Pack 3 have been together since the pack was formed five years ago. It is the only special needs pack in the area, and for many families it was essential to start the group.
“I need some place where he can be himself and he won’t get the hairy eye ball from anybody,” said Committee Chair for Pack 3, Katherine Conroy. “People will just see him for the wonderful boy he is and know how smart he is.”
Even though this is a group designed for children with special needs, they still do everything that any other Cub Scout troop does.
“We do have to teach a little bit differently,” said Pack 3 Cub Master Cornelius Mack. “We teach the basic tendencies of scouting good citizenship and being a good person and helping other people and patriotism. Those principles go to any kid whether they are special needs or not, and what we have to do is we have to adapt how we do certain things.”
This upcoming March, five of the scouts will be graduating and moving on to Boy Scouts. However, this leaves the pack one member short of meeting the requirements to maintain the group.
“We really want to get the word out that this is a great organization,” said Pack 3 Assistant Cub Master, Steven Yee. “Some parents may feel that if they join they may have to be a leader, and I didn’t know anything when I first started, and it’s a great learning experience.”
That learning experience helped many of the boys grow in ways their parents would never have expected.
“In the beginning Sean wouldn’t participate and now he has no problem at all talking to anybody,” said Conroy. “It’s nice when he can help people instead of being the focus of what is going wrong. He is the focus of what’s going right.”
Leaders of this pack hope to keep the focus on what is right for their kids and the future generations of scouts, who can find a place to fit in, earn badges and build friendships.
“It’s all the things you could think of and that you get from being around kids times 100,” said Mack.
Pack 3 said that they will not know the fate of the group until spring, but the graduating Cub Scout families are looking to start the only special needs Boy Scout group in the area.
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