Scouts, LEAP talk about disability awareness

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WILTON — Boy Scout Troop 518 has been working on their Disabilities Awareness merit badge. To complete this achievement, the Scouts must do many things in their own unit, their place of worship, at their schools and in the community.

First and foremost, the boys must discuss and learn about disability etiquette with their counselors, including person-first language and why it is important. Ray Jacques, Troop Scoutmaster and Sheila Adkins, committee chairperson, have been helping the boys become more in tune with their surroundings and how they can make a difference in the lives of others by being more aware.

Another requirement the troop members must accomplish is to meet with an agency that works with people with physical, mental, emotional or educational disabilities. Troop 518 chose to have Megan Goodine, from Life Enrichment Advancing People in Farmington visit.

Goodine provided opportunities for the scouts to learn about the challenges that may present themselves when a person is differently-abled. They reviewed what it may be like to be hard of hearing, non-ambulatory and utilizing a wheelchair or visually impaired.

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Each scout got a chance to simulate the disability while completing everyday tasks such as opening jars, finding items and making a PB&J sandwich. The discussions were lively and the boys did a great job putting what they had previously learned about disability etiquette into practice during the meeting. They were also challenged to think about what they had learned thus far and how to put it all into practice at school and in their communities.

The troop plans to complete the merit badge requirements later this month when they volunteer their time at Sugarloaf for the Special Olympics. For more information about Troop 518 or LEAP, contact Megan Goodine at megan@leapcommunity.org .

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