Serving Scouts with special needs
By: Steve OConnor
Posted On: 2018-08-28
Hi, my name is Steve O’Connor and I am a Special Needs Scouter. I am a father of 2 Eagle Scouts, both with disabilities and both have earned their Eagle on their own!! I have been involved in the Game of Scouting as a Cub Scout with my mom being my Den Leader and bridging to Boy Scouts for a few years. Came back to Scouting when my youngest son was interested in joining Cub Scouts as a Tiger. We went to the first Tiger Den meeting and of course one of the mothers was quick to nominate me to be the Den Leader, I was one of the few Dads in the room. I told the Cubmaster I would be happy to do it, but my son had to join first. We finished the Den Meeting and my son was on the fence, so I told them we would be back and see how it went at the next Den Meeting. My son and I walked out of the first Den Meeting and the first thing my son said to me was I want the uniform for the next meeting. I told him he had to join Scouting and I would get him the full uniform. Guess what my son told me, yes Dad I want to join. We walked back into the Den Meeting and boy did the Cubmaster have a big smile on his face!! We took home 3 applications, 2 for my sons and one for Dad. How I got back into the Game of Scouting.
Since becoming a Tiger Den Leader, I served as my sons Den Leader through all the levels of Cub Scouts and served my Pack in all other positions except Cubmaster. During my time with the Pack, I also completed Wood Badge and served at District level as a Commissioner. I had several Cub Scouts with disabilities in my Den through the years I was a Den Leader, it just happened. When my sons were bridging from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts the District Council came to me and asked me to start a Boy Scout Troop to serve Scouts with Special Needs.
And onward to Eagles!
Hence, the start of Boy Scout Troop 927 and my learning more about the Game of Scouts. My sons bridged into a traditional Boy Scout Troop and Troop 927. My youngest, Eagled out of Troop 927 (first Eagle for the Troop in 2017) and oldest, Eagled out of Troop 927 in 2018 (third Eagle for Troop 927). Shortly after starting Troop 927 the Council came to me and asked me to take over the Special Needs Scouting Committee as the Chair and I said yes. A few months later the District Commissioner came to me and said he needed an Assistant District Commissioner for Special Needs Scouting and I was it or voluntold, said with a smile.
Today, I stepped down as the Scoutmaster for Troop 927, after 5 years of service and still hold my other District and Council Special Needs Scouting responsibilities.