Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A HAVEN FOR RESILIENT SCOUTS; Troop 724 Is One of Two Area Troops for Boys, Young Men with Special Needs [Corrected 07/17/13]

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A HAVEN FOR RESILIENT SCOUTS; Troop 724 Is One of Two Area Troops for Boys, Young Men with Special Needs [Corrected 07/17/13]

Article excerpt

There won't be canoeing or midnight ice cream runs to the commissary, but there won't be pejorative nicknames, either. For members of Boy Scout Troop 724, one of two special needs troops in the St. Louis area, the opportunity to be themselves is worth the sacrifice.

For the next week, their modest campsite of five tents and a teepee flying a Spirit of '76 flag in West Tyson Park near Eureka will be a little slice of Scouting heaven.

Joe Vaughan has been Scoutmaster of Troop 724 since 1999. His military background shows as he directs his Scouts around the campsite, intermittently puffing on a cigarette.

The Crestwood-based troop includes Scouts with a broad spectrum of physical and mental disabilities, but its Scoutmaster doesn't see why that should make them any different from a traditional troop.

"I believe in Scout skills," Vaughan said.

Those that the boys will practice this week run the gamut, from pitching tents to shooting air rifles. Most of the activities will be a surprise to the boys, but Vaughan anticipates his troop will be most excited about the Indian Lore merit badge.

After all, "there's only so much I can do to spark up basketry," Vaughan said, cracking a smile.

Also on the docket is the Disabilities Awareness merit badge. The Scoutmaster said it was an important concept for the boys because they recognize their differences from most people, but they don't necessarily understand why people may treat them differently.

Vaughan is by no means a severe man, but as he speaks on the subject, his sun-ruddied face turns a deeper shade of fuchsia. He's got a barrel of stories about exclusion, ranging from camporee fiascoes to full-on bullying.

Nicholas Keim, 17, joined Troop 724 after leaders in his previous troop told him he'd never become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts.

Four years later, he's not only an Eagle Scout but also a Senior Patrol Leader for his new troop. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.