Special Need Scouts Project
I was inspired to help out in the special needs scout since the first time I encounter them during one of the special needs scout projects some years ago. The reason why I am inspired is because I wanted to help the special needs section is that the view on special needs individuals is not due to the prejudice and stigma on them, but that they are generally ignored in the community and the society. For example, a typical person from Singapore would give up seats to the disabled on public transport, donate money to many charity organisation, etc., however, they are not comfortable that these people (e.g. special needs) being involved in their daily lives.
Learn and decide:
Upon working with the special needs scout units, I found that many people made use of their disability to claim credit that they have done “service” but in fact, they do not do much help to the community and the special needs scouts would found themselves back to square 1 after the “service project” ends. It isn't a negative mindset, but I feel that by doing service, the benefactor has to benefit from the help, and better yet, improve the quality of life of the benefactor. The benefits that we as volunteer receive (such as recognition) should be a secondary priority. This leads me to step in and engage with the special needs scout leaders and see how I could use my experience in scouting to help these kids to further develop and grow. I have spoken to the special needs scout leader and this is the problem that they are clearly facing all along.
over the years, I have been involved with planning and running special needs scout events and programmes and recently (over the past 6 months) I have been more involved with AWWA School scouts unit meeting weekly every Thursday as my lessons do not clash with their unit meeting. The meeting are as follows:
24 Jan, 31 Jan, 14 Feb, 21 Feb, 28 Feb, 7 Mar, 21 Mar, 28 Mar, 4 Apr, 11 Apr, 18 Apr, 25 Apr 2019 (11.30am – 2.30pm)
Combined hours of 36 hours (this cant be edited on the sidebar)
As their disability is rather severe (lower functioning) the meeting programme is very simple. The scout meetings the scouts learn to make woggle, did some knots, learned first aid, wash and ironed clothes, learn about recycling, cleaning tables and chairs, etc.
Although it is unlikely that the scouts could learn much due to their disability, but they have enjoyed their learning process. One such example is that some of the scouts are able to don on the scarf and woggle on their own without much help. I have much to learn about their disability, and throughout this journey, I appreciate their willingness to learn and develop themselves.
Over the years, I have help co-organise large scale activity with the group of special needs scouts from various schools. Each activity such as camps, hiking, campfire and special needs school non-curricular activities, I invited rovers and ventures to be part of the planning team and I would guide them along with their planning where they would seek a deeper understanding of the various disabilities and then brainstorm a programme where the special needs scouts could enjoy and develop themselves. Currently, I am guiding a team of ventures and a rover in planning an upcoming camp for the special needs scouts. They could have been inspired to take up the project to complete their scouting criteria, but along the way, they had begun to be inspired to do the project for the special needs scouts after volunteering and co-run unit meetings at some special needs schools. My focus on sharing my experience with other ventures and rovers is not simply adding manpower to the project, but for them to understand that volunteering for special needs isn't just about throwing in hours for a project with the intention to receive recognition on the hours volunteered. The candid reflection so far from the ventures and rovers has been positive, and i believe that the project could benefit the special needs community in the long run.
*the picture of special needs scouts is published with permission.*