The Scouts' Journey to Inclusion

The blog this week is by Daniel Busby, Scout Executive for the Southwest Michigan Council of Boy Scouts of America, a partner of the Arcadia Institute In March of 2009, parents of Scouts and professionals representing several agencies that assist families were brought together to improve the Scouting program opportunities for our youth. Scouting recognized a dramatic increase in the special requests received from scouts and families that feared attending camp due to a variety of challenges, such as food allergies, autism, or mental and physical impairments. We wanted to put these fears to rest and open a door of opportunity and fun for all our Scouts while making sure parents are comfortable and secure that their Scout is in capable hands. This recognition has positively changed the way that our staff and our organization address our Scouting community. The commitment of these parents and organizations have allowed us training opportunities for staff, capital improvements in program sites at camp that use to be prohibitive to the elderly or wheelchair bound due to the trail system, and allowed us the opportunity to share our learning experience with others.

Our mission has always been about providing opportunities to youth so that they can reach their full potential. The Arcadia Institute and its network of likeminded youth advocacy organizations have continued to assist us in delivering our mission on a broadened scale.