Ron Swift, a scoutmaster with Troop 81 in Patterson for nearly 30 years and presently holding a similar position with local Troop 82, has many years of experience leading youth with disabilities.
“At one time or another, all troops have the challenge of assisting boys with disabilities,” he explained.
Troop 82, started in early 2010, serves boys with special needs and currently has nine members. It is the only troop of its type in the six-county Greater Yosemite Council. Its chartering organization is the local Federated Church where it meets on Friday evenings.
Boy Scouts of America recently established a National Disabilities Awareness Committee that is about to undertake a study of a program similar to that being operated in Patterson. The committee includes professionals and specialists who work with a wide spectrum of disabled youth. The study and establishment of a formal program is expected to take up to two years.
Swift was appointed to serve on an advisory task force that will assist the committee member responsible for education and training. Other areas of the study include subject matter, surveys and research, publications, e-news, program, social media, and relationships and resources.
Over the years the local Scouter has received numerous BSA honors but commented, “This opportunity to assist in developing a scouting program that is much needed all across our country is a challenge I’m very pleased to undertake. I’m thrilled to be asked to participate.”