AND that is not all!
Considering Deaf Schools that have so FEW students, these numbers are impressive coming from their Troops where Scouts are earning ScOUTING’s highest honor, their Eagle Scout Award: Oregon boasts 48, North Caroline 36, Alabama 32 and Maryland 22 Eagle Scout earned.
As a Deaf Scouter looking for support, inspiration and kindredship, these numbers help encourage one to obtain a ScOUTING honor regardless of whether it is for the youth Scout or for the adult Scouter. It encourages the ‘can-do’ attitude and the resourcefulness to obtain one’s goals .
It encourages ‘DREAM BIG’ tickets in Wood Badge. Utah’s Great Salt Lake Council is proof as it gears up to offer its third annual Bilingual ASL/English in Wood Badge for a week during May 12 thought May 17, 2014 at Syndermill Lodge in Park City, Utah. Having been the only Deaf Scouter to attend my Wood Badge course, I can’t tell you how many discouraged me when I first expressed my desire. Luckily there were a few that really encouraged me along with having a wonderful mentor and staff that really bent over backwards to help me by utilizing powerpoints and providing written material.
Sometimes I look back and laugh at the cluelessness that popped up here and there like putting me with another Scouter that knows sign (this was like putting a high school student with a toddler and expecting the toddler to be fluent in signing…*grins). Giving an assignment that involves discussion back at one’s campsite and the only light is the campfire. (Nice that they used LED head light but I didn’t have the heart to tell them LED for me is the hardest to lip read by especially in LIGHT that they used their resourcefulness to include me…*reminiscing smile.)
When I look back on my journey into ScOUTING, things have changed! More and more there are those that believe, help encourage and lend support to the inclusion method regardless of one’s hearing loss. My one advice to any Deaf Scouter… don’t just stay within your units. Reach out at the District level by going to Roundtables. Reach out Council level by going to Council events or asking for help for your specific needs. Even if it takes several months, keep plugging, asking and making your needs known. Eventually you’ll be glad you did as more and more become aware of a Deaf Scouter in their midst. Thanks to TV programs like Switched at Birth, we’re seeing more and more awareness of Deaf needs and the ASL users while the hidden treasure, the Deaf Community, is being uncovered.